Wednesday, July 29, 2009

We Made the News!

Life-long goal achieved.We made the "On the Spot" forecast! Check out http://wcco.com/video/?cid=20 and click on the 6 o'clock weather forecast (skip to 2.00 sec if you don't care about yesterday's weather in Minneapolis).

Isn't that fantastic?!?

After watching the WCCO weather everyday, I decided to send in our photo, and news of our special day, to put Chris Schaffer "on the spot" about our wedding day. And he's forecasting a beautiful one -- 80 degrees and sunny. What a perfect day for a wedding!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Free Willie ... and Wedding Countdown

Wedding Countdown: 3 days (whoot whoot)!

With so little time left, there's plenty to do this week.
Last night (Monday), Lindsay came over and helped clean my house for the wedding weekend. Strict orders to Andi to keep everything picked up for the next few days (he sounded a little suprised like he was shocked I'd say such a thing!). I couldn't have accomplished everything without Lindsay last night! I was running around like a chicken with my head cut off and she calming checked item after item off the list.

While we were cleaning last night, I realized I hadn't seen Chloe in a while. I went to the backyard and called her name. No answer (not like she can really answer, she's a dog. But I digress...). I found Chloe under the deck pouncing on a nest of leaves. Then ... a little baby bunny ran out and tried to scurry away from Chloe as fast as he could. I shouted for Lindsay to help wrangle Chloe the Pest while saving the bunny's life. By this point, the bunny has crawled half-way across the yard. Lindsay and I decided to scoop the bunny into a dust pan and carry him back to his nest so his mom could find him again.

Here's a photo of little baby bunny, we kindly coined "Willie"

It seemed Willie enjoyed the little resting place on the dust pan. This is where he stayed for most of the evening.
This morning, Willie was gone. I'm hoping his mommy came back to rescue him.
List
Sweep (check)
Mop (check)
Clean bathroom (check)
Save a bunny (check)
All in a night's work!
Tonight, Janie, Lindsay and I are going grocery shopping for the weekend. Should be fun! Tomorrow, working late and then Thursday -- my family arrives! The wedding will be here before I know it :)

Sunday, July 26, 2009

QT, Birthdays & Last Weekend as a Bachelorette

Obvious from my previous posting, I get a little testy when I'm missing my honey. I need quality time together or I start to feel neglected. So on Friday, I decided to book massages for Andi and I to reconnect after a long summer of working and wedding planning.

Getting a massage is one of my favorite things in the world, and something Andi and I like to do together. Today we went to Ivy Spa in downtown Minneapolis - one of the premier luxury spas in the Cities. It's soooo nice! Ivy Spa not only delivers quality massages and other services, but has extensive spa facilities like a steam room, sauna, whirlpool and relaxation area to utilize while you're there. During today's visit, my massuse did Trigger Point Therapy on my back, neck and shoulders to relieve some of the stress and tension I've experienced from work / wedding stress. It was amazing - by far the best massage I've ever had. The next massage I'll get will be a Thai massage on our Thailand trip ... and I have a feeling that will be a completely different experience!

After our massages, Andi and I met up with his mom (Janie) and sister (Lindsay) to celebrate Janie's birthday. We walked to an art fair taking place at St. Caterine's University down the street from our house. It was fun to spend some time together for Janie's birthday.

Tonight, to celebrate my last weekend as a bachelorette, a few girlfriends and I got together to have a glass of wine and gossip about the latest and greatest. As I sat around the bar with the girls, I thought of how lucky I am to have such great people in my life. A fulfilling life is all about sharing memories, thoughts and experiences with those we love. I'm a lucky girl, I am!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

The 5 Love Languages

Not very often does a book, phrase or experience come into your life and completely change it. I think it happens to some of us when we get married, have a baby or even attend a meaningful conference where a keynote speaker communicates a message that speaks to a moment of life in which we're standing. For me, I recently read The Five Love Languages which opened my eyes to the way couples communicate with one another.

The author's message is a simple one. There are 5 love languages in life, and we all speak at least one of them. The 5 languages include:

Words of Affirmation - verbal appreciation
Acts of Service - simple actions that show you care
Quality Time - devoted time / focus to one another
Physical Touch - this one speaks for itself :)
Receiving Gifts - visual symbols of love

While you may speak one primary love language, your partner may speak another. It's important for you to identify your love language ... and your partner's ... so you can effectively communicate and show love toward each other.

For me, I completely identify with Quality Time. When schedules are busy and I haven't had at least 10 minutes to connect with Andi w/o the distractions of TV, cell phones or computers interfering ... I feel neglected. And the feeling only deepens unless we block out some time for a meaningful conversation or activity together. The 5 Love Languages has helped me identify that feeling so I know why I sometimes feel the way I do. And, most importantly, can correct it by scheduling quality time with my honey.

This summer has been a busy one and feels like Andi and I are on completely different calendars. Throw wedding planning in and there's really been no time to spend quality time together. Our honeymoon will be the perfect solution to my QT woes ... only 10 more days until we're in utter paradise together :)

So ... in a spirit of Book It tour buses everwhere ... pick up a copy of The 5 Love Languages. I promise it won't disappoint!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Oh yea, I'm honeymooning in Thailand ...

The wedding countdown continues = 9 days.

Somehow in all the wedding anticipation, I'm forgetting we're leaving for Thailand 2 days after the wedding. THAILAND - not like we're heading up to Duluth for the weekend. So, for you math whizzes out there, that's in 11 days and I haven't even thought about what I'm bringing! I've never been so unprepared for a trip!

Andi's usually our vacation planner so I never really worry about it (just show up with my backpack and ask where my boarding pass is). But since we're not booking any reservations for this trip, we haven't really talked about it much. Crossing my fingers that he knows where we're going!

If you're like me, you might not be quite sure where Thailand is on a map (good ole' American education, right)? I know, sad. Anyway, I included a map below so you can visualize where we'll be our 2 week honeymoon: Here's our tentative schedule:

Day 1 - Saturday, Aug 2
Depart Mpls for Bangkok, Thailand (connecting through Toyko)
Total flight time = 28 hours (gasp)!
*we're staying in a hotel in Bangkok that night basically to sleep - we arrive into town at midnight and want to leave again the following AM

Bangkok is 12 hours ahead of Minnesota, by the way. So we basically lose a day in flight. As I write this, for example, it's Wednesday @ 9PM in Minnesota and Thurday @ 9AM in Bangkok.
Day 2
Depart Bangkok early AM for Karbi
*This is a island town in Southern Thailand - beautiful beaches, crystal blue waters (aka: paradise). The plan is to recoup here from jet lag / wedding craziness by relaxing on the beach, snorkeling and getting daily Thai massages on the beach for $10 a session!!

Karbi


Day 4??
Depart Krabi for Phuket
*Another island hot spot not far from Krabi in Southern Thailand. More beautiful beaches and waters. Fun fact: This is where Hollywood movies The Beach and James Bond: The Man with the Golden Gun were filmed among many others

Phuket

Day 7??
Flight North to Chiang Mai
*Chiang Mai is in Northern Thailand. This is a mountainous city with over 500 Buddist temples in the area. Chiang Mai has night bazaars where you can buy foods and crafts down the main streets, tons of massage parlors and shops, as well as small villages in nearby hillside towns.

The most famous temple in Chiang Mai - Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep

Day 11???
Depart Chiang Mai area for Bangkok
*we'll end our trip in Bangkok where we'll visit the 22nd largest city in the world (over 8 million people call Bangkok home)! I really want to visit the historic temples here and Bangkok's famous "floating markets" .... they're basically farmer's markets - but on boats down the main river

Floating Market


Day 14
Depart Bangkok for Minneapolis (28 hours on an airplane again ... ). When we arrive in Minneapolis it'll be Noon on Saturday, Aug 15. We'll have 1 day to recoup before heading back to the real world ...

Our Thailand trip is going to knock our socks off! We've never expereienced anything like this before. I'm mostly excited to be across the world with my new husband - nothing greater than exploring the world together :)

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Word of the Day: WOW

10 days until the wedding.
Wow.

Today I pulled out my calendar to do a quick count of days until the wedding and about fell out of my chair - 10 days! Are you kidding me? I'm hoping someone can help me here, because I can't seem to find the time between Day 24 and Day 10. I mean, it was just the other day we were celebrating 4th of July. Now the wedding is next weekend. NEXT WEEKEND!

Today when I finally realized there's only 10 days left, I started to feel the nerves a little bit. I mean, I'm absolutely, completely sure I want to marry Andi .... but in 11 days it's a for-sure deal. I'll say it again ... wow.

I can't describe it - yesterday and today, I just don't feel like myself. It feels like I'm counting down to the first day of school (and I don't do first day of school so well - I throw up everytime). Please, God. Don't let me throw up on my wedding day!

Tell me I'm not the only one who feels like this? Did you all feel this way too???

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Just Can't Decide

Picking out my wedding dress was easy.
Accessorizing it? Impossible.

Ahhh!! I can't decide what shoes and jewelry to wear with my wedding dress! The green sandals I bought last month are fun and funky, but not right for my dress. Traditional wedding shoes and jewerly aren't right either - my dress is flowy and soft; not diamond-studded and bridal.

I think I'm going for a Grecian goddess look. A few friends have suggested gold to go with this theme, and I agree that it compliments the creamy ivory color of the dress well.

So over the last few weeks, I've picked up pieces of jewelry and shoes that I think might go. Here are a few of the options I've found:

Bronze-colored Nine West's with amber and silver jewels
*these are my favorites so far - very comfortable and really compliment the dress color. Unfortunately, they won't show much because my dress is floor-length

Gold Steve Madden's with gold and brown straps
*these are also comfortable and look good with the dress too, but are more muted with the dress. Would work well, but not as flashy
Silver clasp bracelet
*This is my favorite bracelet so far, but it's silver (not gold) so goes against my Grecian Goddess look. I like the way this one fits my wrist and is simple yet makes a statement

Do you think this one goes with the bronze-colored sandals above???

Gold square-shaped bracelet
*This one also looks good with the bronze-colored sandals and also compliments the dress. I can't decide whether I like this one or the silver clasp bracelet better.

What do you think??Amber Jewel Bracelet
*This one matches the bronze-colored sandals.

What do you think about this one?? I'm not sure it's distinct enough - it seems small on my arm

Silver-colored ball bracelet
*This one is pretty and shiny, but not sure it's right for a wedding dress

Thoughts???

Calling all opinions. I need some help with this one. Which shoes do you like? Jewelry? Think I should keep looking?

Monday, July 13, 2009

Chloe

Chloe cracks me up...

Is it strange to say my little doggie is one of my closest friends? Stop laughing, I don't care what you say - my little Chloe girl is the best! She's always there to listen, always excited to see me and always the best snuggle-buddy when Andi's away.

Here's a few photos of Chloe this week. Too funny!

Dreaming of shopping ...Snoozing on the bed ... Daddy's not home so she's allowed to do this (don't tell)! Look how comfy she looks!

And one awake .. so you don't think she sleeps ALL the time

"My goal in life is to be as good of a person as my dog already thinks I am"
-author unknown

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Bascilica Block PARTY!

Andi treated me to tickets to the Bascilica Block Party on Saturday. This is an annual festival in Minneapolis and is actually a fundraiser for the Bascilica of Saint Mary Catholic Church. There's tons of bands the entire weekend, and a small taste of state fair foods like cheese curds and grilled corn on the cob.

We went on Saturday night to check out Matt Nathansan and The Counting Crows. The opening band, Green River Ordinance, was actually one of my favorites - they were really good!

Next was Matt Nathansan, who I already love. I got his CD about 5 years ago from a friend at Red Bull who knew him. I've listened to that CD every since, so I have to say I was a fan way before his hit song this summer. But, I'd never seen him in concert ... and he didn't disappoint. Unfortunately, he only played for an hour before Counting Crows came on.

Here's some video of Counting Crows - they were good too. They sounded exactly like they do on an iPod.

video

We watched Counting Crows for a while and then got hungry. So we left the Block Party and went for sushi at Wasabi. Not scared of calling it a night at 11PM. We had a fun time and it was nice to do something different for a change. Thanks Andi!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

4th of July Festivities

Finally have a chance to write about our fun Fourth of July festivities...

So, this year we decided to go up North to Brainerd, MN - the land of many beautiful lakes, trees and fresh air. Andi booked a pimp condo right on the lake, and our friends Derrick & Ellie, Brian & Melissa and Adam & Jane came along too. Brian pulled up our Mastercraft wakeboard boat and Andi swindled Crestliner (one of his advertising accounts) to let us use not one, but 2 pontoons for the weekend!

Everyone arrived up to Brainerd at various times due to vacation schedules, etc. I cruised up after work on Thusday to meet Andi who was already working on a Crestliner photo shoot in Brainerd the week prior.

On Thursday night, we grilled out (yummy steaks and corn on the cob), then cruised out on the lake to begin the watersports aplenty.
Andi cruising around in the Mastercraft.
Melissa and I making funny facesHanging out on the boat
I came prepared with my new favorite drink: Pink Panty Pulldowns (thanks Ashley for the awesome recipe at my bacherorette)!
Then we headed home for a mean game of Catch Phrase and many, many drinks to follow.
On Friday (July 3), we decided to go to the Mississippi River to meet up with Andi's friend John and some other people he knew. John's friends are competitive show skiiers and were putting on a water show later than day. We hung here for more of the afternoon and partied on their house boat on the River. So fun!
Melissa and I on the houseboat
More houseboat fun
The boys getting crazy and jumping off the house boat into the River.
Then we went wakeboarding in the Mississippi. At first I was a little creeped out (b/c rivers are kind of gross and they find dead bodies in there sometimes. Urgh). But actually the water was fairly clean because it originates about an hour North of Brainerd in Isantis, MN.
Anyway, this is me about to wakeboard. It was a great session too - no other boats and the water was so smooth!
That night, we cruised up the lake to Bar Harbor Restaurant. The boys were getting crazy on the dance floor while Ellie and I toasted our mojitos to a Happy 4th!


On Fourth of July (Saturday) we met up with a few friends and docked our boats in a quiet bay on the lake. It was fun to chill and drink cocktails in the sun.
Brian and Melissa chilling in the water
Ellie & IMore people partying in the lakeThe group toasting to a great 4th with Jell-O shots

The night of the 4th, we all piled into Andi's friend John's boat and headed across the lake to watch the fireworks show. They were really pretty!

The weekend festivities were catching up to Derrick and Ellie. They crashed out on the boat ride back to our cabin. Derrick started sawing logs on the way home, which was too funny!

With a quick cat-nap in, the boys got crazy and started in on our own fireworks show. We weren't sure where to light them (since it was about 1AM by this time) so the boys got the brainiac idea to light them off on the golf course across the road. We all snuck over there (fully dressed in black, I might add) and watched the boys play pyrotechnics. Cool, but kinda scary. I think we're getting too old for this crap! Don't worry, we didn't get in trouble :)

On Sunday (July 5), we putzed around the cabin a bit. I think everyone was getting tired by this point (lots of late nights and drinking). Andi and I cruised across the lake to his friend John's house and we boated with John and his wife for a while. The rest of the crew took one of the pontoons out and went fishing.

Sunday night, our friend Derrick invited a friend of his over to cook us a seafood boil for dinner. They brought over shrimp and lobster tails, corn and potatoes and cooked us dinner while the rest of us played yard games and chilled out.

The shrimp and lobster boil!

The food was pretty yummy (and I don't even like seafood that well).
I have to say, this Fourth of July was the best I can remember. A great group of friends, good food and drinks and a luxury cabin (way better than some of the shacks we've stayed in prior - how life improves when we all have real jobs with real money).

A great Fourth of July to remember!

Friday, July 10, 2009

It's almost official! Marriage license (check)

This week, Andi and I went to the Ramsey county courthouse in St Paul to apply for a marriage license. I anticipate it's a fraction of the way I'll feel on my wedding day (excited and a little bit nervous) although applying for the license was way less complicated than I imagined.

Andi and I met at the courthouse to apply for the license together. We wanted to share in the experience - although in the state of Minnesota, only one member of the party has to be present to apply. Don't you think this is weird, by the way? You mean to tell me anyone with my SOS number can sign me up to marry them? Yikes, that's scary.

Anyway, we walked up to the window and handed the worker our paperwork. She read through it, signed it and then told us to raise our right hands. Do you swear ... blah, blah, blah ... agree you are a man and a woman ... blah, blah, blah ... and are willfully entering into marriage with the other person. And we said YES. My heart was racing as she sputtered off the statement. I can't believe I'm really getting married! That's all could think about! I can't wait to be Andi's wife.

We walked out of the courthouse office with the biggest smiles on our faces.
Only 3 weeks left until we're married!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Winner! 2009 Alley Garden Award

I can home from Fourth of July weekend this morning (I'll blog about the weekend when I have a chance - fantastic time by the way) to find a pink flag flapping in my alley flowerbed.

At first I thought someone was littering in my yard again. This happens quite a bit since we have an alley behind our house. But upon closer look, I realized it was a pretty pink flag with the words "2009 Alley Garden Award" on it. What, you say? I won an award for having pretty flowers in the alley by our house?

I thought it might be a silly little prank? I mean, do I get my name publicized in a community newspaper somewhere? Get Caribou coupons for my dutiful neighborhoodship? I wasn't sure so I Googled it. Here's what I found:

Alley Garden Awards
Planting a few perennials here and potting some plants there can make a huge difference in improving the aesthetics and safety of your property. In 1992, the Macalester-Groveland Community Council agreed that community beautification deters crime. In response, they started the Alley Garden Awards, which are given to any resident who meets the following four criteria:

Alley Garden Award Criteria
1. The property must have an easily recognizable house number on the garage (or elsewhere in the alley if there is no garage).
2. The garden must be along the alley and on the alley side of any fence.
3. The alley garden must be weed-free and well-maintained.
4. The alley side of the property must positively contribute to the character and beauty of the alley by being litter free and neat.

The Alley Garden Awards generally take place each summer. You can nominate yourself or a neighbor, or just wait for volunteer judges to walk down your alley and identify qualifying alley gardens. In the fall, all Alley Garden Award winners will be invited to a ceremony to recognize their efforts to beautify their alleys and reduce crime in their neighborhood.

WOW! How cool is that?

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Golden Birthday: Happy 2nd Brookie!

Today is Brookie's 2nd birthday. Hard to believe that 2 years ago I became an auntie! It seems like she was born yesterday, yet I can't remember a time before she arrived. How time flies when you're in love with a little one.

I remember when my sister Ashley was about to give birth two years ago. I drove down to Nebraska to be with her in the hospital, as she was scheduled to be enduced on July 2nd. Two days before, my entire family went to our favorite restaurant, Grisanti's in Lincoln, for "Ashley's last meal." I remember how quiet she was (which is shocking for Ashley) and pale - she was so nervous for the next day to come. A little of Ashley shown through when she told the waitress "keep the bread comng" during our meal!

Then on July 1, we waited around the house all day long...counting down the minutes until check-in time to the hospital: 5:00pm. Ashley was admitted and enduced. The next afternoon at 2:00pm, Brooklyn Candice Joy was born.

Here's a few photos to capture the last two years. Brooke is truly a joy - she brings so many smiles and fun moments to our family. Happy birthday little girl! I love you more than you'll ever know.