Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween!

OK, OK, so I may not be the biggest fan of Halloween but I couldn't resist posting this pic:

Chloe's a postal worker for Halloween. Well, she was for about 30 seconds ... until she shook the hat off and started tugging at the costume. I couldn't resist. She got this costume for Christmas from Andi's dad (who's actually a postal worker). I think he found in on clearance for $2 or something. 

My friend Ellie's theory proves correct ... everyone's cuter in costume!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Date Night: Pumpkin Carving

October has flown by in a whirlwind and I found myself questioning Andi last week about his plan for our monthly date night. If you'll remember, he gifted me a year of monthly date nights -- all planned and paid for by him -- for our one year anniversary. In August, he took me to the Pizza Farm and last month to The Strip Club. With only a few days left in the month, I was determined to hold him to his commitment. Those nights are, after all, my favorite date of the month because it's quality uninterrupted time with my honey.

Andi marked Wednesday, October 27 on the calendar and told me to plan to dress casually and keep an open mind. "Are we going rock climbing or something?" I said with a wrinkled face. He shook his head no and said I'd have to wait and see.

When Wednesday morning rolled around, Andi forwarded me an email from an old boss of ours who was in town for only one night - Wednesday. He invited Andi to a working dinner and it's really something Andi can't turn down. I completely understood. Date night cancelled.

We rescheduled date night for last night and in Andi's words, he "dug himself out of the doghouse" by inviting me to an evening of carving pumpkins at home. I was more than happy for the change in plans as I'd begged him to carve pumpkins with me for two weeks! It was the perfect date night in my opinion.

Friday, October 29, 2010

The wine accessory you just can't live without

A few weeks ago Andi and I traveled back to Nebraska to visit our family and friends. We stayed at my best friend Ashley's house in Omaha one night and she told us about a kitchen gadget that will change your life.

It's the Rabbit Wine Aerator ... have you heard of this?

There's this one that actually slides into the bottle neck ...

And there's this one which works well for box wine. We do a lot of box wine drinking at our house so we had to get both.

The wine aerator works like a decanter and allows the wine to breathe. It makes such a difference! This handy device turns a $7 bottle of wine (our usual) into a $25 bottle of wine. The difference is truly amazing and totally worth the investment if you're a wine drinker. In my most sophisticated wine tasting voice, I tell you it takes the bite out of your drink creating a smoother body. My only complaint is that it's a little awkward to push the box wine spout while holding the aerator and your wine glass all at the same time. You definitely need a buddy ... or a third arm! 

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Currently in ...

I haven't done one of these "Currently In..." posts for a while ... so I thought I'd document how I'm feeling.

October was a fun month! Work slowed down a smidge and I had two weekends of no Gopher football games to spend time with my family and friends. Andi and I closed down the cabin, and traveled back to Nebraska to meet my new baby cousin Lauren.

Also in October ....

Current Books: I'm in the middle of a few books this month. I was given a Kindle a few weeks ago by work and it's reinvigorated my interest in reading before bed at night. I love it! It's so easy to read on and Kindle books are cheap, cheap, cheap. I'm still reading Animal, Vegetable, Miracle (although I haven't made any progress with that book this month. Andi and I listened to the new Tucker Max book Assholes Finish First on the car ride home to Nebraska. It was super funny! I also just started reading The Red Tent a few nights ago. And finally, I am re-reading Taking Charge of Your Fertility just to brush up on my charting skills. Phew!

Current Play List: I've been really into country lately and streaming Taylor Swift, Sugarland, Keith Urban, Kenny Cheney and Red Jumpsuit Apparatus on Pandora Radio.

Current Guilty Pleasure: Shopping. It's something I usually do very little of (clothes at least) and this month, I've been into shoes and scarves and buying tons and tons of baby clothes for all the new babes in my life.

Current Color: Black and this just in ... gray.

Current Drink: This month I've been drinking Honest Tea Kombucha. It's a organic fair-trade drink with live active probiotic cultures. It takes good and does good things to my body. I'm into the Berry Hibiscus.

Current Food: I've been eating lots of junk food this month. Pizza, frozen burritos, nachos and burgers. Not the best news to report, eek.

Current Favorite Shows: Love, love, love television this month. Too many good shows to mention. The season finale of Mad Men was AMAZING, How I Met Your Mother mirrors our life in a major way and continues to make me smile and I'm digging The Good Wife this fall, too.

Current Wish list: I have lots of things on my wish list lately. Maybe because Christmas is around the corner and I'm keeping an eye out for things to ask for. I also wish for healthy, happy moms and babies for my cousin Jen and girlfriend Val.

Current Needs: Buckle down and save some money for the holidays and winter travels. Andi and I have a few trips we're planning for November, December, and February and the holidays are my favorite time to spoil my family and decorate my house to the nine's. I want to have some cash put away to do so.

Current Triumphs: Things are FINALLY slowing down at work and I feel like I've made it through the busiest time of the year. The holidays are right around the corner .. and then vacation ... and family ... and yummy food. I can breathe!

Current Bane Of My Existence: PMS. Why must you make me feel so roller-coastery.

Current Celebrity Crush: I'm in love with Kourtney Kardashian's long black hair. Does that count? I'm crushing on it big time.

Current Indulgence: My Kindle. It's so cool and fun to use. Love it.

Current Blessing: All the healthy, beautiful babies coming into the world. I'm beyond thrilled for all those having little ones. Also, my girlfriend Mel and her upcoming nuptials. So much to be thankful for this month.

Current Outfit: You know it ... sweats, a long-sleeve t shirt and slippers ... because it's about that time in Minnesota.

Current Excitement: The holidays! I almost died when I saw all the holiday decorations in store-front windows this weekend. Looking forward to decorating my house, the first snow and cooking turkey dinner with Andi's family and Christmas shopping galore.

Current Mood: Happy. Life is good in our little family.

Current Link: I got nothin ...

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Retail Therapy

I've had a bad string of luck with shoes lately. First, the heel of my boot broke at work the other day and I was forced to hobble around the rest of the day with this:

Not cool. Not cool at all.

Now, my go-to pair of comfy black kitten heels has been worn down to the metal heel. All the slipping and sliding they cause me to do down the hallways is nothing short of a safety hazard!

So I spent the better part of yesterday afternoon shopping for shoes online and found a few pairs I'm excited to arrive on my doorstep!

First, I bought two pairs of kitten heels for work. I like the Madden Girl heels because they're comfortable and give enough height in a heel without being too over-the-top for work. Considering I'm not even suppose to be wearing heels at work, I feel like this is all I can get away with.

Madden Girl Upscale Pump from DSW

Madden Girl Jazminee Vintage Pump from DSW

... and I treated myself to a cute new pair of boots for fall/winter. I haven't tackled the skinny leg jean craze yet (they look so weird on me!) but I can easily wear these with dresses or under my boot cut jeans and work pants.
Sam & Libby Profess Boot from DSW

DSW had some great deals on shoes. I got $10 off just for leaving a comment on the pair of broken heel boots and they always offer free shipping on purchases over $35. That qualifies for practically every pair! I feel a little ornery for buying three pairs of shoes this week (eeek!) but every girl deserves a treat once in a while, right?

Wave your flag

The next wedding gift I give will be a homemade flag you fly when you're not to be bothered by your partner. At my house, yesterday would have been one of those banner days. I woke up feeling all PMSish and knew every encounter crossing my path would lead to tears, me being pissed or a heightened sense of glee. Do you ever have those days? No one understands what it feels like to be a woman except women, you know?

Andi went fishing/hunting with a buddy on Sunday and I felt all bent about him being gone. Normally, I don't care when he takes his little man-cations. Actually, half the time I like it because it means I get to eat whatever I want for dinner, my house stays clean and I can work or blog or shop or whatever. But yesterday was different and I felt it all day. I have this neorotic way of working myself up inside my head. The more I dwell on something, the more upset I become and worse it seems until I literally feel like the idea is clawing its way outside of me.

After my husband came home last night I noticed he, too, was moping around. I'm not sure if it's possible for men to have PMS (or some other abbreviation that sums up their feelings) but I think he had a case of it. I asked him why he was down and he shrugged his shoulders. He asked me what I wanted to eat for dinner and seemed annoyed I didn't want to eat the fish he caught earlier in the day. We made different meals and ate in silence. Needless to say, it was one of those evenings where each of us should have thrown up our respective flags and bid adieu until tomorrow. Every word we said came out wrong. I made some snarky comment about never seeing him lately and he went to bed.

Of course today, those crazy thoughts are gone and I just feel stupid - stupid for making such an issue out of nothing. My PMS flare up has cooled and I'm left with this uneasy feeling. Last night was one of these times we should have gone into our respective corners. Today, I feel like my insides mirror the rainy fall weather and I'm jarred at the fact we wasted such a perfectly good night on being moody bump-on-a-logs. A night where we were actually home together for once and it's a missed opportunity. Shame on me for being so pathetic.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Halloween Memories

I'm a Halloween hater.

There, I said it.

While many of you are pulling together the final touches to your Halloween costumes this week, I'm patiently waiting for this holiday to pass. I enjoy the fall season and decorating my house with pumpkins and wreaths but make no mistake, you'll find no giant blow-up spiders and fake cobwebs in my yard - oh no!

Halloween and I have never agreed, even when I was a little girl. Listen to these traumatic memories - oh the scorn of my youth!
  • Once when I was in elementary school, we painted our pumpkins instead of carving. We decorated their faces and made pigtails out of yarn. Mine looked just like my Cabbage Patch Doll; I was so proud of my work. A few days later, we came home to find our pumpkin splattered in the street in front of our house. I cried until there were no more tears left. How mean can neighbor boys really be?
  • Every Halloween, my family went trick-or-treating around the neighborhood, then met all my cousins at my grandparents house. We'd go downstairs and dump all of our candy into this giant coffee table bowl. Despite my mom's warnings as she yelled down the stairs, I'd always eat way too much candy. And every year I'd throw up on the car ride home. My poor mother...
  • One time we came home from my grandparents and our dog had vomited all over the living room. Apparently my parents left a bowl of candy on the steps and he helped himself to the lot. That was an extra fun year for my mom.
  • One year in Middle School, I fractured my foot a few days before Halloween and was forced to wear a "boot" with my Gypsy outfit. Not cool at all. I still laugh at those photos - I looked ridiculous.
  • My sister loves Halloween and every year my mom would help her pick out a cute little costume. Once she was a bubble bee; another time, a cheerleader. And every year as we were putting on our costumes she'd proclaim: "I want to be a DEAD cheerleader!" "I want to be a DEAD bubble bee!" So my dad would break out his old face-painting stuff and give her just what she asked for ... blood and death all over the face of his five year old.
Maybe it'll be different some day when I have a little munchkin of my own to dress up in cute little costumes. My friend Ellie believes every kid is cuter in costume. She vows to dress up her future kiddos every chance she gets and I can't argue that fact. The little Superman I saw out shopping yesterday made me smile.

This little trip down memory lane has made me realize Halloween's not all that bad. Looking forward to having my own little gremlin someday and starting our family traditions.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Reader Help: Fall Clean Up

I'm way behind in my fall yard clean-up this year, and I have no excuse. Mother Nature has dealt Minnesota a beautiful September and October and yet, I still haven't taken the time to prepare my yard for winter.

Two years ago, I left my yard practically as is, and it was a mess to clean-up in the spring. The leaves were matted and wet from months of snow piled high and my perennials needed serious work as I had to dig out all the dead foliage to make room for the new. Last fall, I did the complete opposite and spent hours cutting everything back so they'd be all set for spring growth.

How about you? What do you do to get your yard and flowers ready for wintertime?

I also have questions about fertilizing the grass in the fall and planting spring tulips and daffodils. Do you do this now? And if so, what fertilizer do you use?

Let's hope the weather holds up for me this weekend to complete these last outdoor projects before winter officially sets in!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Moving Up

Andi and I starting shopping for houses this week. We're not exactly in the market for a new house, but we're batting our eyes at the idea. As soon as we have our first child, we're going to out-grow our current space in a major way so it's time to start planning our next big step. Well, that and my husband always needs a project. New car? Check. New house ... let the search begin. Who I am to complain? I'm lucky to have a man with a plan!

We toured a few homes in a western Twin Cities suburb a few weeks ago and weren't all that pleased with what we saw. Most people would have marveled over the giant kitchens and spacious master suites, but all we saw was the lack of old-home charm and historic neighborhoods. I fully realize our current house isn't everyone's dream, but to us it shows character. Wood trim nearly 100 years old, antique built-in buffets and trees that dump massive piles of leaves in my yard makes me feel at home. (If you want to see our current digs, check out this old post here). Granted, opting for an old house also means we're stuck with small bedrooms, tiny closets and a lack of storage so we'll have to be creative when we're shopping for our next place.

After our trip to the 'burbs a few weeks ago, we stopped by an open house in our neighborhood to look around. While the house wasn't what we were looking for per say, we did meet a great relator who's lives in our neighborhood as well. We asked her to start scoping out great deals in our immediate area, specifically those with opportunity to fix up. Our "plan" thus far is buy a cheap house with character, but needs work and fix it up ourselves. We toured this one on Wednesday night and I feel in love. This is exactly what I'm dreaming of ...

This house is a little out of our price range, but only because someone's already done the work for us. A year ago, this house was on the market for 1/3 of the price and someone bought it, made some cosmetic updates and voilĂ . We could easily transform our own purchase into something just as beautiful.

Seeing the designs in this house has inspired me to re-decorate my own space. It's been three years since I've painted any rooms or drastically changed the layout at our current place. May be a nice wintertime project for me ... exciting!

Monday, October 18, 2010

How to Host a Holiday Baking Extravaganza

I woke up last week with a startling thought: OMG! I need to plan my annual holiday baking extravaganza before it's too late. My mind raced for a date check and I realized it's only mid-October. I quickly whipped out my date book and went to planning.

My holiday baking extravangza was such a success last year, I can't imagine not hosting it again. I selected December 5 for my party this year: the perfect date as it follows Thanksgiving, gets everyone in the spirit for the holidays and give us plenty of time to share our holiday cookies and treats at gatherings and events. Oh what? You can't come to the party? You can host your own. Here's how:

My husband's office has a large industrial kitchen and luckily he lets me use it for my party. Truthfully though, you could host the party anywhere - just adjust the number of guests based on the size of your space. You'll want plenty of counter space, tables or work stations for your guests while keeping in mind not everyone will be baking all at once. Some people might be assembling ingredients, munching on snacks or have a no-bake recipes which require minimal time in the kitchen.

I chose to send an e-vite invitation with a cookie-themed invite pattern. After selecting my guest list and event details, I added a cute holiday baking saying to get everyone in the spirit:

'Tis the season for some holiday fun

Think of all the shopping we've yet to get done

Before we get together for some cheer and good eats,

Let's start baking all our homemade holiday treats!

You could easily make hand-made invitations or simply print stationary from a computer printer if you prefer snail mail. In my invitation, I asked everyone to bring an appetizer to share and Tupperware or cookie tins to carry their treats home. I always provide wine and non-alcoholic beverages but you could host yours any way you like.

Encourage your guests to choose 1-3 holiday recipes they're interesting in making at the party. Old family traditions are great as well as fun finds from the internet. One of my friends said she has a holiday recipe that's a mess to make in her own kitchen and asked if she could make it there instead. For sure, I say! Why not make it in someone else's kitchen when you have a bunch of your friends to share the clean-up.

DIVIDE AND CONQUORLast year when I hosted this party for the first time, I had my guests email me their recipes and I tallied up all the ingredients needed for the party. Then I sent back shopping lists for everyone and it worked out fabulously. That way, only one person buys the flour, another buys the sugar, etc. Buying in bulk at Costco or Sam's Club makes it more cost effective for everyone and trims down the number of ingredients you'd have to buy. If someone's recipe calls for a unique ingredient like cardamon for example, I assign that ingredient to the recipe holder to make sure they get exactly what's needed for their recipe. Email out your ingredient list at least a week in advance to allow everyone to pull ingredients together.

Load up some holiday tunes on your iPod and get to baking! As I said before, I ask guests to bring Tupperware or cookie tins to carry their treats home and purchase myself a few rolls of wax paper, Ziploc bags and foil to separate treats for transport. Last year, some gals also brought cooking utensils they wished to share such as their mixers or cookie sheets. If you don't have enough of these items on your own, go ahead and ask your girlfriends to bring extras. When guest's arrive hand them a glass, show them a lay of the kitchen and start cooking!

The greatest parts about a holiday baking party is the variety of recipes you'll have at your holiday functions. Last year, my cookie trays were beautifully decorated and they made perfect gifts for neighbors or friends. Not to mention all the fun girl time you'll have that day as well.

Look for pictures in a few weeks following our bash! Is it the holidays yet? I'm getting excited ...

Friday, October 15, 2010

A surprise for me!

Completely blown away this week when I opened a package from one of my company's national directors and discovered an Amazon Kindle just for me! The gift was a thank you for my work in developing the 2010 Earth Day campaign and my work in sustainability this year. WAHOO!

First off, I'm excited to own an electronic gadget my husband doesn't. A full song of "I have something you don't have!" ensued upon opening. He is not amused, by the way.

Secondly, I have no idea how to use one of these nifty things. Do any of you own one? Like it? Tips? Tricks?

I'm jazzed to load up a few books and start reading. Hey readers, any suggestions of good books I should get? I'm into anything non-fiction, local foods movement and anything pregnancy, of course. I thank 'ya in advance!

Monday, October 11, 2010

A Day In The Life

I was excited when my friend Laura invited her blog readers to participate in a Day In The Life project and I quickly signed on to showcase a day in my own life for all of you. I'm always thinking to myself I should snap a photo of all the crap random tasks I find myself doing throughout the day as a Marketing Manager on a college campus or capture the sweet, beautiful things I notice in nature or otherwise. I contemplated whether I should do this activity today - was it exciting enough? But hey, it's an average day in the life, right? Here's what it's like to be me ...

I woke up to my phone buzzing on the night stand beside our bed and found this text:

My cousin Jen had her baby!!!!!! Last night around 5:00pm my mom called to say Jen was in route to the hospital. After a gazillion phone calls throughout the evening, I made my mom and sister promise they'd call me just as soon as they heard any news from the hospital. And so, when Baby C (now officially named Lauren Elizabeth) arrived at 11:12pm last night, my phone began to ring off the hook in a series of phone calls between my mom and sister.

Side note about Baby Lauren (because we all love hearing about babies, don't we?): Lauren was born on October 10, 2010 at 11:12pm. That's 10-10-10 at 11:12. How neat is that?! Mama and baby are doing great, by the way.

I finally fell asleep after all that commotion just after 1:00am.

I crawled out of bed this morning at 7:46am after I'd hit snooze for over an hour. I had a hard time getting up and moving after staying up so late.

I finally made my way out the door around 8:33am when I realized oh s%*# I need to leave for work!
In all my rushing, I forgot to document my morning routine. It's basically shower, dress, make-up, out the door. Nothing too excited to report.

I arrived to work and walked into my office to find this:

You may say this is where the magic happens. Marketing magic, that is. Somewhere in the midst of all those boxes, pool noodles and a monkey in a bag (that's right, I said monkey) I have a desk with a computer. Isn't the life of a Marketing Manager grand?

I spend the morning sending and returning emails, participating in a regional conference call and checking Facebook like crazy for any update on Baby Lauren. Nothing new to report as of yet.

Today I did treat myself to my new favorite drink - Honest Tea Kombucha, although I didn't allow myself a slice of pizza for lunch like usual. Today begins the first day of me trying to watch what I eat. We'll see how it goes ...

I drive over to the student union to help with our trade show setup. Over 5,000+ people will come through the show devouring food samples from our partnering vendors. Tomorrow will be one of those days where I run until I can't go anymore.

After work, I headed straight for Target to buy little Lauren all the gifts my cart could handle. Nothing I love better than Target and baby stuff. I shopped circles around that place! And while I was there, I found the cutest little Halloween outfit for my niece Brookie and picked a frozen pizza. Never a good idea to go to Target hungry. Dang it, I'll have to start the healthy eating kick tomorrow...

I called my mom on the way home to get the latest update on Jen and the baby. Everyone's healthy and doing well. My mom gushed how sweet of a baby Lauren is. Can't wait to meet her this weekend on our trip to Nebraska!

Made a frozen pizza and wrapped gifts for Lauren and Brookie, disappointed in my selection of wrapping supplies and boxes. Never again will I go through another Christmas without buying an extraordinary amount of shirt boxes. I'm out and for the life of me, can't find a pack of them anywhere. Who knew? I made them as cute as I could ...

It's about that time ... I grabbed my computer and head to bed. My favorite way to unwind at night is to lay in bed, check Facebook and watch sitcoms. Tonight it's How I Met Your Mother, Rules of Engagement, Two and Half Men and Mike and Molly. 

Andi called and asked for a pickup from the airport. He flew to Chicago today for meetings and just arrived back in the Twin Cities. I grabbed Chloe, threw on some flips and ran out the door.

Back from the airport. Crawled back in bed.

A day in the life of me: it was as exciting as the birth of a newborn baby and as routine as an evening at home. Good night y'all!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Last cabin weekend

Today was a sad day at the cabin - the day we turned over the keys.

Andi and I drove up to Crosslake on Friday afternoon for the last time this summer. We stopped at the Onamia Farmer's Market like we have so many times over the last few months and selected fresh, local veggies. This time, squash instead of strawberries: a change in season for sure. 

Friday evening was warm and sunny. Andi and I took the pontoon for a trip around the lake. We drank wine and listened to The Power Loon, classic rock at its best. We made kabobs for dinner and snuggled up together. One of the best things about the cabin - it puts us instantly at ease.

Late Friday night, Brian and Melissa arrived and on Saturday morning we all decided it was far too beautiful of a day to spend cleaning up the cabin. The four of us went to lunch at The Wharf and spent the remainder of the afternoon fishing off the dock back at the cabin. 

We celebrated our last evening in Crosslake with dinner at the glorious Norway Ridge. As we have many times this summer, we laughed over an awesome meal with friends.

And today, we spent the day cleaning the cabin, dismounting the dock and pulling the boat off the water. Summer has officially come to an end for us and it's bittersweet. It was the best summer we've ever had.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Baby Fever

My cousin Jen is expecting her first baby any day now and all the anticipation has everyone in my family on pins and needles. I find myself stalking her blog for the latest update and texting my mom repeatedly just so I'm not the last to know all the way up North.

All this baby talk definitely stirs the urge to have one of my own, but I'm trying to be patient and focus my energy and enthusiasm on Jen and her baby. While doing so, I'm concentrating on all the things I want to do before I get pregnant. Here's what I've come up with so far:
  • Drink lots of Diet Coke. Three a day, maybe. (sounds healthy, doesn't it?)
  • Buy a box of red wine ... and drink the whole thing. That's right, I said box.
  • Reveal at my hips sticking out - hope these puppies are hidden in my future (temporarily, of course)
  • Hit snooze ... again and again and again. Just because I can.
  • Stay up on my tan this winter.
  • Take a few more trips, just Andi and I.
  • ... and on that note, make a few of those trips last minute whims because we're not responsible for anyone other than a 5 lb. pooch and she's up for anything.
  • Marvel at my clean house. Not a thing out of place.
  • Focus on my husband with lots of date nights and QT
  • Color my hair - no roots here! 
Anything else I should squeeze in before my time comes a callin'?

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Composting Update

Apparently, it doesn't take much to get me excited.

Check out my compost pile:

I've been diligently working to build up a good pile this summer and I finally filled up the bin. I'm excited at how *beautiful* my compost has become. It's amazing to see how much waste we've diverted from our kitchen every week by simply throwing our food scraps into this bin. Not to mention all the grass clippings and fall clean-up leaves and twigs. I worried about filling up the bin this summer but seriously every time I have, the pile has decomposed enough to add more scraps. 

Goal for spring: to use my rich compost to plant my flower pots and vegetables. I love being green.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Work it, Girl.

Andi text me this afternoon and asked if I wanted to go to a yoga class tonight.

My ititial thought? Nope. I haven't been to an organized exercise class in over a year. Before our wedding to be exact.

But then I realized this meant my husband would  be coming home early tonight. And, we'd be able to spend time together doing something good for us. (lately it seems like we've been spending QT drinking bottles of wine and bitching about our jobs).

I said yes.

And I'm glad I did. Oh man, do I feel like a new person. Why haven't I done that in over a year again?

Laziness, I suppose.

It felt ah-mazing to stretch and breathe and relax and sweat. All good things my body needed.

CorePower Yoga: you have me hooked.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

The Best Present Ever

I've been meaning to circle back with you all for months about the awesomely wonderful gift I got Andi for our one year anniversary. It absolutely killed me not to tell you about it in June when I experienced it and then I gave it to him .. and time passed ... and life got busy ... and well, you know how that goes. Any-who, I racked my brain for months this summer trying to dream up a cool, unique gift he wouldn't forget for our most important wedding anniversary - the very first one. Complicating matters, I was determined to follow the traditional anniversary guide and that meant some part of my gift had to be paper.

I thought about booking a weekend vacation and wrapping the directions or confirmation page into a card, but he's really the trip planner of our family and I didn't think I could pull a trip off successfully without him figuring it out. I really wouldn't know where to start. I thought about buying him a family tree print from Etsy or making something myself, but none of that seemed cool enough for our special celebration. One day in June, in a conversation with my sister-in-law, she told me about a few friends of hers who own a photography business and host boudoir photography sessions once a month. As soon as she said it, I knew it was the most perfect gift I could give him. It's romantic and fun and sexy ... and best of all, he would never expect it in a million years.

What I didn't expect was just how amazing the experience would be for me. Oh my, I've never felt so beautiful.

I made an appointment with Boodwah Photography and met them in downtown Minneapolis about a month before our anniversary. Getting there was quite the battle as I do not do well driving downtown by myself but once I arrived, I was absolutely at ease. I spent the evening with Kristina and Megan - two of the most adorable ladies in the world who were both so professional and so flattering. I was pampered by having my hair and make-up professionally done and then spent the next hour basking in the spotlight. I've never felt so wonderful.

Well, that is until I received my photos a few weeks later. I still can't believe these images are of me!

In all, I received about 75 photos that are absolutely to die for. I'm not showing them all to you here but click over to the girls' website for a glimpse their work.

I decided to display the images in a handmade book I bought from Etsy. I wrapped the book in a glamorous gift box and felt like a kid at Christmas when I gave it to Andi on our anniversary. He was absolutely blown away. Absolutely blown away.

I can't decide who enjoyed this gift more. Andi loves the photos and tells me all the time how much he likes to look at them. And truthfully, I'd never felt so good about myself. I felt powerful and sexy and absolutely gorgeous. Best present ever. Not sure how I'll top this with next year's theme: cotton.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Last minute cabin trip

Andi and I made a last minute decision to drive up to the cabin this weekend. After working my 4th consecutive Saturday, I really needed to get away to rest and recharge ... even if it was for less than 24 hours. We threw a few clothes into a backpack and hit the road. I'm so glad we did.

The Minnesota fall colors were in full bloom and the landscape was absolutely gorgeous on our drive North. Once we arrived, we stopped in town and bought a take n' bake Chicken Alfredo pizza from Rafferty's (my favorite!), a few bottles of wine and rented Hot Tub Time Machine. Andi started a fire and we curled up on the couch for the absolutely perfect date night.

Lake O'Brien

Road to the cabin

Next weekend we're heading up for one last time to clean the cabin and turn over the keys. Oh man, am I going to miss this place! We've had the best summer up here - so many memories. I hope we'll be able to rent this cabin - or another one - again next summer.

On our drive back yesterday, we stopped and took a few family photos in the fall leaves. There's this cute one of our little family ...

And I can't help but post this one ... can you say senior picture?