Thursday, August 31, 2006

Viva Las Vegas - Friday

So we had a fantastic time on our Vegas adventure.

It started last Thursday when I drove down to the twin cities after my dress fitting & dinner with Steve. It's a 2 1/2 hour drive and since my brother-in-law was kind enough to drive us to the airport, I really didn't feel like getting up at 5am so I could make the time when we'd have to leave for the airport. This was much better.

My sister flies stand-by (because my bro-in-law works for the airline) and she decided it would be safer (more seats) to fly on the 7am flight. She departed for the airport EARLY. My cousin Lindsay & I left around 8am.

Our flight was not until 11:35 so we had plenty of time to get checked in & through security, to have a leisurely breakfast and sit at the gate. We met Allison (Steve's sister) in the airport as well. Sarah (my bridesmaid) was running a little behind. As we were boarding the plane I called her and she was still on the light rail! Not even to the airport yet....luckily they were holding the plane for some late connections and she made it on at the last minute! Whew.

The flight was very uneventful which is good. We landed at about 1pm Las Vegas time. Kathy (my sis) was waiting for us by baggage claim. We grabbed a taxi and hit the road.

We stayed at the Westgate Flamingo Bay which is a time share/rental property. It was perfect. We had 2 2-room suites (2 bathrooms in each - whew) for 9 of us. It was so incredible to see my LA friends! They were there waiting for us and the hugs & squealing that commenced were exactly what I imagined them to be.

Our first order of business was the grocery store where we stocked up on enough food & beverages to last a week. It was nice to have full kitchens where we could have essentials like bacon (for the morning) and ice cream birthday cake (which we forgot to eat until Sunday morning!).

Friday night I was literally showered with gifts. At first I wasn't looking "bride-y" enough so my very dear friend Sam (and the planner of the weekend events) gave me a gift bag full of things to spruce up my attire. A tiara & veil w/sparkles on it, a purple boa, a "bride-to-be" blinking sash (to be worn with my swimsuit I was informed), a button, a "bride" t-shirt, bath & body goodies and candy. Each of the girls also got bags which included tiaras, boas, matching pink t-shirts (saying things like "bridesmaid," "cousin," "groom's sis," "matron-of-honor," and "girlfriend") - it was really amazing. I also gave out the gift bags I put together for everyone. The Aleve (!) was a big hit - ha ha!

And I got birthday gifts! My friends are incredibly generous and are truly amazing. I even got a sleek black iPod Nano! (which I love love love!) but the best gift (besides just BEING THERE) was tickets to the Cirque du Soleil show LOVE! AMAZING. If you don't know about this show, you should. It's all Beatles music w/the most incredible spectacle EVER. The tickets were for the show the following evening. I of course immediately started crying my makeup off.

I was overwhelmed and SOOOO EXCITED!

The rest of the evening was spent enjoying cocktails, gettting ready to go out and dancing the night away! We all wore our pink t-shirts, boas, tiaras and veil (for me). It was so much fun. We took the shuttle to the Rio and planned on going to the dance club. We couldn't get into the VooDoo Lounge that night (well, we could but it was a $25 cover charge and we just couldn't do that...pooh). The club wasn't open quite yet so we sat at the Masquerade Bar. Finally it opened and we waited in the "free" line (as opposed to the "VIP" line - well some of us anyway. Eventually we got in and hit the dance floor. The boas were a big hit on the dance floor. So much fun to have a prop out there. I got a LOT of attention due to the veil and I think the girls did too due to their matching shirts! And their general hotness, naturally.

There was a little drama but not too bad (considering the amounts of alcohol) and we all (eventually) made it back to the condo unscathed.

More later...work beckons...(pooh)

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Weekend in Vegas* now with captions!







Photo 1: Me & Allison - future sister-in-laws
Photo 2: Sarah outside of Hooters Casino
Photo 3: Appletinis at the VooDoo Lounge
Photo 4: After "LOVE"
Photo 5: Lindsay eating the biggest flapjack ever known to man at the Hash House A Go-Go

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

I'm baaaaaaaaaaaaaaack

Had a FANTABULOUS time....I've extremely tired, dehydrated (due to the ungodly oppressive heat not the drinking thankyouverymuch) and am trying to imagine how I came home with SO MUCH MORE stuff than I left with. I will post a real post about it later but I just wanted to let you all know that I am officially OLDER now, didn't get arrested or puking drunk and I have the best friends in the entire universe. (I just wished THEY LIVED HERE!!!!).

Some teaser highlights:

(because, of course, "what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas unless you have a digital camera and a blog")

*Boas for everyone!
*Tiaras
*iPod Nano (in black)
*Cirque du Soleil LOVE
*Hash House A-Go-Go
*VooDoo Lounge
*it being TOO HOT for our plane to take off yesterday...

more details to come....

Thursday, August 24, 2006

I am outta here...

I'm off tonight to Minneapolis and I fly to Vegas in the morning to celebrate my birthday & my bachelorette party with some family & friends!

We'll see if what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.....

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

30 days!

EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEK.

Yes, that's me. Eeeeking. A tad embarrassing but there it is.

I am getting married in ONE MONTH. Not something I ever thought I'd hear myself say (I always thought I'd end up that "favorite aunt" or something and live with multiple cats in a run down home reading lots and doing crossword puzzles....)

So, I'm happy! I can't believe it! Time is FLYING and I better get a few more things off my 'to-do' list pretty soon!!!!

Tick tock!

(oh and I leave for Vegas in 2 days! whohooooo!)

Hike From A Couple Weeks Ago





From August 12th...yes, I'm just getting around to posting them now. I had some problems with Blogger not uploading things so here ya go.

This is on the Superior Hiking Trail right in Duluth. We started at 40th Ave West and hiked East towards our house (we live near 22nd Ave West). A Beautiful hike with stunning views. It is 3 miles from that start point to our house. We then drove back to pick up the car. Steve is sitting on a bench that is on the ski trail (near the hiking trail) at Piedmont. It's so high during the summer but during the winter sometimes you can barely get your skis under it to sit down because of all that snow. (incidentally, that's the first trail we ever skied together)

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Catching Up

Well, it's been a whirlwind of activity around here lately...I should catch up...

Thursday night - I watched AquaMarine with Miss M. A near-teeny-boppery-movie that help her rapt. It had 7th to 8th grade girls, cute lifeguard boys and a mermaid. 'nough said.

Friday night I went to happy hour with some co-workers. I wasn't planning on staying long (you know how that goes) and ended up getting home around 9:30pm. Ugh. Steve met us down there as well which was fun and it was nice to be social vs. anti-social for once. I also found many possible candidates for a GAME NIGHT which makes me oh-so excited.

Saturday morning it was up bright and early as we headed to the annual R Family Golf Classic. (yes, my family has a golf tournament every year...since about 1980). This year it was in Pine Island hosted by my aunt & uncle who live on the course there. It's a lot of fun. It's a scramble so it's pretty mellow and easy going. I was in the first group to tee off (I prefer this than to coming in last and being watched by everyone!) with my uncle, an aunt and my cousin's beau. There is a "rule" in place that no immediate families can be on the same team. Therefore I can't be with my Dad, Steve, my bro-in-law, etc. IT's really nice because you get to spend time with different relatives that maybe you don't usually. It's great for getting to know them more and spending some quality time. Oh and there's lots of beer.

My team did "okay." We were 9 under par which I think landed us in about 3rd place. Steve's team (3 of my aunts + one cousin) (there was a five-some yes) came in 2nd at 11 under par which was very good. I hear Steve spent a lot of time "in the woods" looking for balls. Well, he loves trees!!

The banquet afterwards was at my aunt & uncles. Ribs, potatoes, fruit, salad, dessert. Very yummy. I won the "longest putt" competition (there are several holes that have "prizes" on them...it was sort of a joke because NO ONE made a good put on that hole so the longest putt was very short. For that I got a putting cup & a couple of golf balls. I also received an ornament that said "Star Golfer." Steve was the last one to get an award....oh the anticipation! ha. He received a little gift package of fake grass w/some balls & tees in it and also a can of bug spray since he spent so much time in the woods! He also got the big official "welcome to the family, it's great to have you, etc" speech from my uncle. :-)

On Sunday my aunt's on my Dad's side (there are a bunch) hosted my 3rd (and final! Whew yet, I'm sad!) bridal shower. It's a tradition for that side of the family to host the bridal shower for one of the 'grandkids' or grandkids soon to be spouses. I can't believe it was finally my turn!! Crazy. We played a few games (repeat of the trivia), ate yummy food and opened presies.

The most touching gift I received was a beautiful clear glass serving (or decorative?) bowl and two double taper candle holders from my Grandma. With them was a note saying that she & my Grandpa (who passed on in 1996) received them as a WEDDING GIFT in 1941! I was so touched. I love love love old glass and things passed through the family I think are incredibly special. This is a gift I will treasure (and I'll try to put up pictures soon!).

Another fave this time around is a camping-double-hammock! Whohooo! I can't wait to try that thing out. It looks soooo comfy. And my Mom & Sis gave me a wedding scrapbook and some wedding-y supplies for doing my book. I did just sign up for the annual scrapbook retreat in March so I will have plenty to do!

During the shower the guys golfed again and Steve borrowed my Dad's bike and went on the Douglas Trail (runs between Pine Island and Rochester) and thoroughly enjoyed himself. I'm glad there was something for him to do because I didn't think he would want to golf 2 days in a row!! He liked the trail so much he thinks we should go down there sometime and ride the whole thing. Awesome! :-) He also enjoyed seeing corn & soybeans close up as he's not from farm country. He finally agrees with me that there is something very beautiful about the rolling fields filled with crops.

We got home about 8pm Sunday night. I was pooped. Managed to put a few things away and then go to bed.

Last night we met with the minister to go over our "Prepare" results. I'm happy to report that we are VERY compatible. The minister even said it is a "delight" to marry such a strong couple as us.

Tonight I'm going to try to have a pedicure (even though I'm foot phobic) and tomorrow I need to pack because Vegas is only 3 days away!

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Swappy Goodness & Other Surprises



I received my Wristlet swap package from Tami yesterday and it is AWESOME. (I will post pics later from home). She made my wristlet in this beautiful purpley w/greens mixed in batik fabric that is really rich and beautiful. She also, being from the Silicon Valley, embroidered this amazing "silicon chip" design on the top. It's really beautiful and I intend on putting it to excellent use.

She also put some goodies inside along with some purple fabric and some buttons. I just love it. It was sooooo fun to get the mail yesterday.

And because she ROCKS she also included a monogrammed wristlet for Miss M! I am so touched and I know Miss M will be thrilled. I plan on giving it to her tonight.

And then there's more!

Kelli sent me one of her awesome fruit bags! It's a wedding/honeymoon gift and I adore it. I cannot wait to take it to the beach with me or out to lunch on the island. It will be perfect!

You are both such incredibly talented and thoughtful ladies. Thank you SO MUCH.

I wish the mail was fun like that every day!

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Trivia Answers

Because I know you're all waiting with baited breath....

1. How did Carrie & Steve meet? online - either Match or Yahoo...we were both on both.
2. Where are they honeymooning? Florida
3. What is their favorite activity to do together? Hiking
4. What month was their first date? February (6th to be exact)
5. Where did they get engaged? Cape Disappointment (!) Washington
6. How many cats do they have and what are their names? (2 points) 2, Beavis & Iko
7. How many siblings does Steve have? 3 - 2 sisters and 1 brother
8. When is their wedding date? September 23
9. What foreign country have they traveled to together? Mexico!
10. What special day is Steve's birthday on? Halloween
11. What color are the bridesmaid dresses? Chocolate Brown
12. What month did they get engaged? August (24th to be exact)
13. What are Carrie & Steve's favorite TV shows to watch together? (2 shows, 2 points)The Apprentice and 24
14. What is Carrie's favorite food? Macaroni and CHEESE
15. What is her favorite book? The Grapes of Wrath
16. What is her favorite movie?About a Boy

There you go -even more of the stuff you ever wanted to know about me! ha.

Me & the Hostesses with the Mostesses

From this past weekend's shower:



Monday, August 14, 2006

Whew! Weekend Update!

It was a busy one...shall we begin?

Friday after work I got home and worked out. I then puttered around, did some sewing - the usual. I can't remember what we had for dinner....did I make something? Hmmmm...no clue. Oh! I had soup. Steve went to happy hour with his Dad so I had some soup. That's right...

He called around 7 or so and asked if I wanted to go to a movie. We ended up seeing WORLD TRADE CENTER at 9:30pm. The first movie we'd gone to together since BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN! What is our problem? Anyway - perhaps I'll post a review later. Let's just say I cried. Shocking.

Saturday we got up and did the usual Saturday morning thing - read the paper, eat Cap'n Crunch. The plan was to leave "in the morning" for a nice long hike but it didn't quite turn out that way...I did more sewing while waiting for Steve to get ready and I think he forgot that I had a dress fitting at 2 (although I did keep telling him) because he kept putzing around and making phone calls, etc. Finally when he jumped in the shower at 11:45 I went in there and said - WHAT ARE YOU DOING? I have a dress fitting at 2! Come on! He forgot....

So much for our 2 hour hike. We did end up doing a nice 3 miles on the Superior Hiking Trail...it took us about 1 1/2 hours...which put us back at our house at 1:30 at which time I had to scramble to take a shower, grab my stuff for the fitting and head up to the bridal shop. I had to drop Steve off at his car (where we hiked from) too. Whew. I made it in the nick of time.

I still love my dress. *sigh* Not that I was doubting it but it's been since February since I've seen it and I love love love it! It fits me wonderfully and I would wear it all the time if I could. People at work might look at me funny if I show up in a wedding dress though. It's sooooo soft and comfortable, and flowy! Obviously, due to my extreme shortness!, I need to have it hemmed but other than that things pretty much fit me. She is also going to line it so I don't have to wear a slip and she has to alter the g.d. expensive bra so that it doesn't bump out in the wrong places. I tried it on with the shoes & my veil for the first time. I love it! eeeeeeeek! (40 days for those of you who are counting....ack!).

After the fitting I met Steve at the mall to do some wedding-shoes-shopping. we were successful in finding him a very lovely pair of Nunn-Bush (or Bush-Nunn?) black dress shoes (Maxwell, if you're interested). They look great and since we registered at Younkers (and that's where the shoes were) he got to use a 15% coupon which is always a good thing! Then we had ice cream from DQ.

That night for dinner I made Chicken in Tomatoes and Cream which, Donna, is fabulous and I will post the recipe later. That night I stayed in and sewed & had some wine and Steve went out with his brother.

Yesterday morning got up a little too slowly, messed with the computer a little too long (no internet - argh!) and left a wee bit late for the shower in the Twin Cities. Only 15 minutes later than I wanted to but that annoyed me. Story of my life.

It was all fine until I saw the sign that said ..."blah blah blah, expect long backups on weekends." Ah crap. It's a weekend. I'm heading south which is where all the traffic will be (see, I LIVE where people come to on the weekends...that's how to do it...). Well, this meant I was stuck is suck-ass traffic. I hit the traffice about 10-15 miles before the actual construction. We creeped along (hello! I drive a clutch! ouch - leg cramp!) for 7 miles. That 7 miles took 1 hour. Probably a leeeeetle bit over an hour but I stopped looking. Basically I got very sad. Sad that I was going to be late to my VERY OWN bridal shower. I cried off all my makeup because, I'm a big crier.

At one point I didn't MOVE for over 10 minutes. This is when we were alread in one lane. I was freaking out! What if someone had car trouble and is blocking THE ONE AND ONLY LANE? (more crying). Thankfully I had my phone and could call my sister (crying) and let her know I would be late and I could call Steve (also crying) and get some sympathy from him (which I did, he's very sweet).

Finally got TO the construction and things speeded up. For the next 24 miles it was single lane but at least we were moving.

I arrived at the shower about 1 hour and 15 minutes or so after it started. That was weird. I was discombobulated at first, had to pee really really badly and my legs felt yucky from all the clutch action. But soon I setttled down (I stopped crying about 50 miles earlier so I would look "fresh" ha ha!) and we had the shower.

The shower was lovely. My sis did an awesome job. There were chocolate brown & pink decorations, balloons & confetti, lovely yummy food including mini-quiches & cheesecake which are two of my faves, wonderful friends & family, games & presies.

We played this game where we passed around a prize as my aunt was reading a letter (pass it to the person with the smallest feet - shocking! It came back to me! etc but it was way cuter than how I'm describing it). Anyway - I won! Sweet! I won a pack of notecards that my sister made. We also played Carrie & Steve Trivia - My Mom and Sarah-Sarah won that (I couldn't play or I TOTALLY would've won - ha ha), we played "dirty bingo" which has nothing to do with bingo but involves shaking two sets of dice and stealing prizes and we ate! Yum yum yum!

I got lovely presents, once again, I'm blown away by people's generosity. I am wondering where the heck I'm going to put everything, but I will find a way! It was so nice to see some of my aunts & friends whom I haven't seen in a while. Oh and remind me to tell you about the mouse in my Grandma's purse (in the 40's) later. She was telling the oddest & funniest stories yesterday. *sigh*

After the shower, my Dad and bro-in-law came home and we gave my sis b-day presents (the chocolate themed gift was a hit). Her b-day is tomorrow so it was good timing. Then I packed up and hit the road. The drive back was much much nicer. I made it in about 2 1/2 hours. Whew.

I got home and was exhausted. Drank a glass of wine and set up the gifts on the dining room table so Steve could see them when he got home. Of course I wasn't yet asleep when he got home so I got up and had to 'show' him everything. I'm such a dork.

And now Monday. Well, at least the work part is done. We're going golfing now - wheeeee!

Time to play.... Carrie & Steve Trivia!

I have a weekend update that I'm working on but it's long and I need to get some work done so in the meantime you get this!

Play along! I'll post answers later. This was played at my shower yesterday....how well do YOU know me....Answers will come later in comments. Good luck! (if you were at the shower, you can't play. Because you already did!)

1. How did Carrie & Steve meet?
2. Where are they honeymooning?
3. What is their favorite activity to do together? (keep it clean folks, this was a family shower)
4. What month was their first date?
5. Where did they get engaged?
6. How many cats do they have and what are their names? (2 points)
7. How many siblings does Steve have?
8. When is their wedding date?
9. What foreign country have they traveled to together?
10. What special day is Steve's birthday on?
11. What color are the bridesmaid dresses?
12. What month did they get engaged?
13. What are Carrie & Steve's favorite TV shows to watch together? (2 shows, 2 points)
14. What is Carrie's favorite food?
15. What is her favorite book?
16. What is her favorite movie?

Good luck!

Saturday, August 12, 2006

It's a Wristlet World - Package Arrived





Raesha received her Wristlet swap package from me yesterday so I can post it now! Yay! I had so much fun participating in this swap. It was my first one and my first return to sewing in about 11 years or so. I'm already making other projects because I'm remembering how much fun it is.

The theme was to represent where you're from. I chose the blue 'watery' fabric to represent Minnesota's 10,000 Lakes. The green lining is to represent all of our trees. The goodies I included were certified wild rice (hand harvested, natch), a mini-can of Spam (as I'm originally from Austin, MN or "Spamtown USA" due to it being the home to Hormel), some Swedish fish (her faves) and some hot chocolate to keep her warm during those upcoming NM nights (heh). I hope she enjoys it as much as I enjoyed putting it together!

Friday, August 11, 2006

Weekend Plans

I'm feeling rather blech today but thankfully it is Friday and that means 2 days of blissful away-from-here-ness.

Tonight I am going to *try* to apply coat #2 of "Evening Gown" (midnight blue) paint to the front door. Come on, it's been over a week already. Sheesh.

Next I think I will drink wine and sew. I'm not sure if those two go together, but we'll find out.

Tomorrow morning I have a hiking date with Steve. Not sure if we'll do part of the Superior Hiking Trail or the Western Waterfront Trail...we'll see.

Tomorrow afternoon I have my first wedding dress fitting. Sadly, I have no one to go with me. Ho-hum.

Either tomorrow night or Sunday morning I will drive to Apple Valley (suburb of the "Twin Cities") for a bridal shower that my Sister is throwing for me. Followed by driving back to Duluth.

Then BAM it's Monday and we start all over again. Ay yi yi....

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

2 More

Rejections.

Although they weren't even nice enough to send me an actual email or a letter. I just happened to drop by their websites to check it out. *sigh* I guess it's a little easier this way as it's not a reminder in my FACE but still. I have 2 more pending but for obvious reasons, I'm not holding my breath.

I'm sick of it.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Crafty Goodness & Packages

I have been tying up some loose ends tonight which make me feel good.

Firstly I finished up my Swap package for Raesha and it will be on it's way soon! Wheeeee! Here's a hint...Beavis helped me sew it. Heh...

I also put together my sister's birthday present tonight. The theme this year is "Chocolate." The package includes: the movie Chocolat on DVD, a bag of Chocolate Chex Mix, some chocolate colored ribbons (for scrapping or cardmaking), a sheet of M&M stickers, a bag of peanut M&M's, some chocolate colored socks, some chocolate colored 'fibers' (again for scrapbooking & cards), a chocolate melting wafer (smells soooo good), some chocolate Chai tea and I think that's it. I hope she enjoys it! I always try to do theme for her gifts...some years it works, some it doesn't. I think this one works. I wrapped everything in bright pink & purple wrapping and put it in a brown (sadly not chocolate brown which I couldn't find) gift bag. Her birthday is next week but I'll give it to her this weekend.

Next I put together a housewarming gift for friends who just moved into their new home. Something small for the wall but I think it goes really well with their style...I hope so!

And before ALL this...I stopped at the fabric store. Thanks to Kelli, the sewing bug has bitten me once again. I stocked up on lots of fabrics & zippers which I plan on making into little gifts for friends. I can't wait. I also picked up some Cotton Candy homespun which soon will be a prayer shawl for my cousin (who's birthday is the day after mine, and while we're in Vegas).

So, now tonight, after my sweet adorable lovely husband-to-be made me dinner (tuna burgers & spud puppies (organic tater tots) and I have cleaned up the dishes and emptied the litter boxes and trash we're going to sit down and watch a movie together.

Hollyhocks & Radishes


I'm enjoying this new cookbook so much I can hardly stand it. I got it this weekend at the shower from Steve's aunt. I love the "down-home" feel to it which is particulary northern and familiar to me. Although it comes from Michigan, I feel the similarities - the northern climate, short growing season, fresh lovely farmer's market veggies, the big lakes and their affects on our seasons, the tourists that come in for the summers and the simplicity of it all. This book shares a lot of personal details about many of the recipes and includes letters at the beginning of each chapter from Mrs. Chard. This book is centered around her and a lot of her own recipes. I love stuff like this. I actually brought it to work with me after lunch because I'm so bored and I'm just enjoying reading tidbits and considering the mouth-watering concoctions (even a recipe for dandelion wine!).

I'm thinking I might make "The Best Mac and Cheese" for tomorrow when Miss M comes to dinner followed on Thursday possibly by "Chicken Breasts in Tomatoes and Cream." Mmmmm......

Such a wonderfully thoughtful gift that I will cherish for years to come!

Monday, August 07, 2006

Fiesta!

The FiestaWare in action:



I love how my cupboards look now! Wheeeeee!

Sick Mac

My computer ("Mac") has been sick for a while. Well, since I got it really in June. The evil X showed up in the battery icon and the battery would never fully charge. I received a new battery from Apple but after calibrating it and it working for about 12 hours, the evil X was back.

So I finally caught up with the weddings I'm editing, I've backed up my photographs and I'm taking Mac in today. They tell me the turn around time is 36 hours to 4 weeks. 4 WEEK?!?!? Sheesh. I HAVE to have my computer back by the wedding as it is what we're using for the dance. And I'd REALLY like to have it back as soon as possible. I'm already losing out on one editing job because of this (the whole reason for me buying the computer) and I have 2 jobs waiting to be cut. Not such good timing, eh?

So, I hope my Mac will be okay and that they can fix him and send him back promptly. I will miss him greatly but I am looking forward to actually being MOBILE with my laptop. Something I have really yet to do.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Of Showers and Things

What a weekend.....

Friday night we had a lovely happy hour. My guests that were going on to do some camping ended up staying until about 8:30pm! It was so much fun to have such lovely ladies over for some chatting and cocktails. My friend from work ended up staying much later as once I get a wee bit of tequila in me I can talk for hours.

Saturday I got up (with a headache - ugh) and did my "crisis cleaning" before my parents came. I didn't have too much to do but I'm always so paranoid. My grand plan of getting up EARLY and washing the car and renewing my driver's license did not happen. Oh well.

My folks came and my Mom got ready for the shower and I got to see their photos from their recent Alaskan vacation (one week land tour, one week cruise - nice!).

The shower was at Steve's Aunt's house here in town. There were 11 of us there for a "luncheon." We had lovely sangria (a recipe I'd never tried before and it was so pretty) and sat in the backyard munching on veggies & dips and chatting away. We played a couple mellow and not too stupid games (I love games...heh) and had a hot chicken-casserole dish for lunch with fruit skewers, cabbage salad and a raspberry cheesecakey type tort thing for dessert. Very yummy. I of course was having the WORST allergy attack that I've had all year. I was a bit miserable at first while we were sitting outside. I probably sneezed five or six hundred times. ha. And I felt a tad bit loopy from the allergy medicine. I was a barrel of fun.

And I opened gifts! This was my first experience, outside of birthdays, where I'm the only one opening stuff! It's kind of weird. But fun too. I will admit that. I got 7 place settings of my FiestaWare! I'm so excited. I got 2 plum, 2 peacock, 1 sunflower, 1 scarlet and 1 shamrock. It's so pretty. I love it. We also got a big stock pot full of soup making supplies (from my Mom), 8 of our 12 water goblets, 4 juice glasses, 4 martini classes, a beautiful wooden salad bowl (with salad fixin's), a wooden divided dish (for veggies & the like), a camping cook-set and 4 little tin espresso mugs (so cute), a beautiful cookbook - which Steve's aunt inscribed and also wrote notes about some of her favorite (and not so favorite) recipes which is so sweet it makes me want to cry and a really adorable picnic basket with plates, wine glasses, silverware, table cloth napkins, thermos, mugs, wine opener and a bottle of wine. That will be so much fun since we love to picnic. We could even throw that in the canoe! :-)

I was overwhelmed by the generosity and felt so very lucky to be welcomed into these women's lives and their family. It was really a nice shower.

Afterwards we came back to my house and hung out with my Dad in the backyard and just relaxed and chatted. Later we went to Canal Park and walked on the LakeWalk and had dinner at a cafe overlooking the lake. When we got home we looked at the rest of the Alaska pictures and went to bed.

This morning we got up leisurely and went to brunch at Pizza Luce. I then had to meet with my editor to do some photos for the article I recently wrote followed by a little shoe shopping. My folks gave me my b-day presents early as one item is an ADORABLE halter dress which I plan on wearing at next week's shower and when I go to Las Vegas (for my b-day/bachelorette party). That's why she wanted to give me presents early. So very sweet of her. What I don't get is, I can't find a frickin' dress to look good and fit me when I'm THERE looking and shopping. She can always buy me clothes that not only fit perfectly but also look great. I am amazed. I want her to be my personal shopper. So....I needed some cute, dressy, brown heels to go with it...which we found at Target.

Now, I'm putzing around home. Cleaning up and putting some things away. Wanting Steve to come home from his camping bachelor party weekend trip thingy, but I think he's not coming back til tomorrow. I want to show him the dishes! and the glasses! and the itty bitty espresso cups for camping!

Tonight I am taking Miss M to the movie THE ANT BULLY and I'll come home to start working on some thank-you cards.

How was your weekend?

Friday, August 04, 2006

I Feel Like I Just Asked Someone Out

I may have mentioned that I have very few girlfriends in town to hang out with. One is my neighbor Anna (hi Anna!) and our hanging out consists mostly talking over the back fence - which I love. I love having cool neighbors!

I digress....

In an effort to bulk up those numbers, I decided to have a happy hour tonight in my back yard (you're all invited!). First it was just my friend Sarah who's coming through town on the way up the shore to do some camping. She's bringing along two friends who have never been to Duluth. What better way to welcome them than by getting them schnockered on my homemade margaritas?

So, then I thought, hmm, the receptionist here is new, she's young(er than me), seems cool, hip, artsy, bought a copy of my movie (!!!!) and I generally like talking with her but I don't know her very well. So, I decided to send her an email inviting her to Happy Hour. I was kind of nervous! What is my problem? I sent the email and immediately left my desk to go to the bathroom because that's how TOTALLY burnt out I am on rejection.

Happily, she accepted and who knows, maybe I'm making a new friend.

(yes, I am aware of how much of a geek I am...)

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Clarification

I just wanted to clarify one thing:

I DID NOT NOW NOR COULD I EVER GIVE UP CHEESE!!!!

That's like giving up air for me. I keep getting such positive comments "way to go!" "you have great willpower" etc but I must dismiss them because I didn't give it up. I had ONE sandwich without cheese. ONE. That's it! Now I'm back to cheese. Because I love it. Today, in fact, I had a CHEESE SANDWICH because we were out of lunchmeat! (tortilla wrapped around cheese, cherry tomatoes & lettuce -yummy).

Anyhoo. Sorry for shouting but it's just craziness to think someone like me, who's make-up is probably at least 50% cheese (actual) and 90% cheesy (as in mental).

I think I will find a way to sneak some cheese into my evening plans....yes, I'm that exciting.

Ghetto Door

Let's just say I don't live in the nicest of communities...compared to where I last lived in LA and where my first apt in Duluth was 4 years ago - it's heaven, but even so it's not great.

The odd couch remained(s?) in our neighbors yard (2 houses down) through 3 seasons (snow, rain and sorching heat); no one puts weed killer on their lawn so trying to keep a lawn weed free is nearly impossible (and I admit we don't use chems either but at least we pull our weeds); junky cars sit in front of houses, maintenance on some is sorely needed; fireworks go off at ungodly hours for a month before and a month after the 4th of July; windows get smashed in, our grill got stolen, you get the idea.

That being said I adore my little house. It's adorable (IMHO) and I have a big yard and it suits us just fine for now. We have 2-bathrooms (unheard of for a house built in 1896) and closets in every room (another anomoly)and a 2-car garage.

We have an enclosed front porch with those little square windows - you know the ones - a million of them. Last year we completed our front porch interior makeover and now the outside is needing the same. The paint is flaking and chipping and I'd like the entrance of the house to be welcoming instead of scary.

So in June I decided that would be my next project. I started scraping the front door. It was in a sad state. Scraping paint is always much more fun when you start as opposed to when you want to be done. So I worked on it for a few days and then it got blistering hot out and I abandoned this project.

Every time I enter that door I am embarrassed....wood showing through-half-scraped looking like crap front door. WELCOME! To my Crappy House! Come in for some Cat Pee Smell (no, not really) and Dust Bunnies! Ugh. Even my FMIL made a comment about "that door" (which isn't too surprising, really) and well, I started to feel like crap about it.

So, my folks are coming up this weekend and the door has to be welcoming to them because the weeds in the yard certainly aren't and the disarray in the basement certainly isn't and I want to not appear a total failure to them....so...last night I finished scraping, sanding and priming my front door.

It's all pretty and clean and shiny and white (for now) and that makes me very happy. I should've taken pictures but I didn't. So use your imagination. Tonight I will *hopefully* get the coat of "Evening Gown" (dark navy-ish blue)on it so that when my parents arrive I can pretend that this was done months ago.

Of course I won't have time to tackle the rest of the porch windows but this at least is a start.

**I don't want to offend anyone by calling my door "ghetto" - it's sort of a running joke by my friends that that's where I live.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

OK Go - Here It Goes Again

This truly rocks! Very unique and fun to watch. I wonder how many times they had to shoot this to get it so right on. Enjoy!

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

I Actually Ate A Sandwich Without Cheese

To some of you that is probably a "big deal." But to me it's HUGE. You see, I love cheese. I love love love it...which is good coming from the heartland and all. However I am also on the quest for the "wedding-dress-body" so I'm *trying* to be good. Cheese is one of my downfalls. Big one. I could snack on it for days. But today, I decided to NOT have cheese. I am doing the whole 10-pounds-in-10-weeks thing and boy-howdy let me tell you how that's NOT working. So, in order to "be good" I decided to forgo the usual cheddar, mozzarella and/or colby and instead just have ham, lettuce and cherry tomatoes wrapped in a soft tortilla. It was delish! Heavenly even! It could be that the cherry tomatoes are just divine right now but I was happily not even missing my cheese which for me is a fantastic accomplishment. The next step - chips! boy to I love chips. I would say my love for chips equals my love for cheese! Put 'em in front of me and I will eat them. I try to eat the baked kind always but I can eat about 3 times the amount of regular ones so....sort of defeats the purpose. I try not to buy them. So, today with my cheese-less sandwich I had half (Half! Seriously!) a serving (half an ounce!!) of white-cheddar soy-crisps. That satisfied my crunchy-sort-of-cheesy need and is infinitely healthier than those darn chips.

Now, off to drink another 32 oz of water and plan on doing my workout dvd tonight becuase it's FINALLY not godforsaken hot in my house. Then I'm off to buy a new party dress for my first shower this weekend. Wheeeee!

Hopefully I will make some "scale-progress" as well....

Rings of Gold

I'm getting a littled "wedding-y" around here lately but you know, that is what happens when you're getting married in 53 days! eeek!

Last night after work Steve & I went and picked out our wedding bands. Something that I had been wanting to do but we didn't know if we would have time this week. Lo and behold, we did. We went to the same jeweler that made my engagement ring. He is a very cool guy. Has his own little shop downtown and makes all of the jewelry right there. He & his wife travel to Antwerp every spring to pick new diamonds. What a cool job, huh? Steve chose him because he's a local artisan, just one guy not some big company with stockholders and shares and corporate hoo-ha and that just made sense for us. The full spectrum lighting in that place KICKS ASS and wow did my diamond sparkle. (that made me quite giddy, I will admit). He cleaned my ring when I was there and then I got even MORE giddy. I'm such a dork.

Anyway, we met with him, he showed us some bands, we chose & put down a deposit. The whole thing took less than 30 minutes. I chose a 2mm white gold band that is the same thickness/style as my engagement ring. Plain, shiny; delicate and dainty. I tried one on that had diamonds all around it but it was just too much for me (and my dinky hands). Steve chose a 6mm white gold complimentary band that will have a brushed finish (not shiny). We plan on getting them engraved...not sure with what yet but we have a few ideas. We can pick them up in the beginning of September!