Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Valentine's Day and other fun

Happy Tuesday!

Sort of. Tuesday is my least favorite day of the week. Monday never bothers me much because it's a shiny new week! So many possibilities! I will accomplish everything!

Then Tuesday comes, reality hits and it's not even midweek yet.

My roommate once had a conversation with me - in her sleep - about how much she hates Tuesdays. That's how bad they are.

On that uplifting note, here is what we've been up to lately:

Valentine's Day fun! Tom and I started the morning by making some waffles. Which we failed at enormously the first time, but we had it down by waffle number three!

Then we saw the Fifty Shades of Grey movie. I didn't read the book and some parts of that movie were downright laughable, but it wasn't actually as bad as I was expected. I thought it was going to be a full-on hate watch session, but I was pleasantly surprised that it wasn't. I still don't know if I'll ever read the books.

I made some pretty addictive cherry almond cupcakes (adapted from recipe here.)



Then we made dinner together!








Meatloaf, asparagus, steamed red potatoes and garlic bread. Meatloaf is Tom's favorite dinner, so he was excited to learn how to make it. We actually enjoyed that dinner so much that Tom and I replicated it this past weekend. Except this time we added homemade chocolate lava cake...holy crap that was amazing. (Recipe here.)

Friday night I went with Tom and a couple of his friends to play pool at what we assumed would be the sketchiest, creepiest bar. It totally looks the part from the outside. But inside it was actually pretty spacious and nice, so we will be back. Also, I tend to be horrible at anything involving any sort of coordination, but I wasn't too bad at pool!

Enjoy your Tuesday, friends! It only gets better from here!

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Wedding Cake Tasting!

The original plan was to taste cakes at a handful of different bakeries, because why not? When else will we have such an opportunity?

I booked one to start with. It wasn't with one of the bigger bakeries in town. It was actually with this lady Tom's aunt knows, and her bakery is in her house. So we went on Friday evening before dinner.

We got there and were handed this delicious plate of goodness:

YUM.

We tried all the cakes, decided on a few flavors (white wedding, vanilla with raspberry filling and double chocolate) and then sat down to talk designs.

We are going for something like this:


After talking to her, I could tell she knew her stuff. She also knew all our vendors, which was a major plus. 

We've chosen an amazing team of vendors. My favorites are the ones who you can tell speak "cake" or "flowers" or "wedding timelines." You can tell it's their passion. And this lady loved cake.

At the end of the tasting, she found out it was my birthday and said she had something she wanted to give me. I was thinking it would be a little extra cupcake or something?

But no. She walks out with this thing:


An ENTIRE chocolate cake. She was like "oh, I keep a few extra for my family." 

So that's when we said we were just going to book her right then and there.

Cake is done! I feel good about that. I think all we have left is selecting the invites and getting the guys' tuxes figured out. Still 8 months to go!







Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Thoughts On: Chapel Hill



The Chapel Hill shooting of Deah Shaddy Barakat, his wife Yusor Mohammad and her sister Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha really shook me, particularly after reading about what the victims were like as people. The murders have not been officially called "hate crimes," but it's very hard not to jump to that conclusion.

It wasn't just that they seemed like wonderful people, which they did. I think what really got to me is the victims easily could have been some of my own friends. Many of my friends are devout in their religions, and those religions span a very wide spectrum. I love that about them. They are a kind, vibrant, intelligent group, and I love learning from them. Even though I don't follow a religion myself, I appreciate the role it has played in many of my friends' lives and characters. So the idea of people dying simply because of who they are and what they believe in is such a loss for our world. It's nothing new, of course. Human beings have killed each other over religion for centuries. But technology has made the entire world more accessible than ever before, and somehow it seems to have only added to the ignorance. People seek out what supports their beliefs, filter out the rest, and live comfortably in their own narrow minds.

I get frustrated hearing about these horrific acts of violence because I feel so helpless. I want to do something, but the whole thing is so much bigger than one person.

I've come to terms with my current solution, which is just to start with myself. We are all so afraid of each other, and afraid of anyone and anything different from ourselves. It has made so many of us bigoted and ignorant and closed off to other people. If anything is to change, it has to start with the individual.

So I work on myself, to understand others and where they are coming from. And when Tom and I have children, we will raise them to do the same. To be tolerant and curious of the world around them, and to respect and appreciate the differences in the human race. I may not be able to change this fearful climate, but if Tom and I add a few more people to the world population, we can at least try to make them the kind of people this world needs. We can expose them to the beauty of humanity and its varied and ancient roots. We can show them that the world expands boundlessly outside their own experiences and beliefs, and that is a good thing. We can learn and discuss and read and travel and celebrate that no two corners of this planet are identical. It's just a tiny change made in us, a minuscule portion of the world population. Hardly a drop in the bucket. But I think it counts, and it will count, for something.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Chippendales and a full moon

Saturday night was a wild one! Wilder than my usual, at least.

A month ago I was out to eat with my coworkers when one of them said she wasn't having a bachelorette party (she is getting married in April.) Cue another coworker immediately suggesting an impromptu celebration.

We decided to go to the Chippendale show on Feb. 7th. The weeks leading up to the event we mostly spent being like "We're not really going to that, are we?" But yes. Yes we did. Bought the tickets the day before!

February 5th was my last day at that job and the next day was my birthday, so we ended up doing a bachelorette party/going away party/birthday outing. We started at my friend's Mexican restaurant and went to the show after that!

I have to say...the show was WAY more fun that I thought it would be. I was expecting it to be super awkward but really, it was just hilarious. At one point they did a "Risky Business" skit and danced down the aisles. I was on the aisle seat and my friend decided to push me right into the guy! I stepped on his foot. I was actually kind of freaked out when they were close to us. I felt the same about them as I did about ChuckECheese characters when I was little - very wary.

Also, the crowd of women was insane! They shrieked and woo'd the whole whoooole time. Everyone seemed particularly thrilled at the "Fifty Shades" routine...

(Fun fact: My mom once dated a Chippendale. She said he was incredibly boring because he spent all his time performing and just wanted to sit at home during his down time.)

The "full moon" referenced in the title happened as we were leaving. This drunken, rather large, probably 50 or so years old woman, suddenly pulled down her pants and mooned the taxi in front of us! Whaat?!?! We were all screaming. It was a little scarring.

And here is the photographic proof of the evening!:



Haha... (:




Monday, February 9, 2015

My birthday and wedding rings!

Happy Monday, friends!

I am just coming off a weekend filled with food, fun, cake, male dancers and more food. (More on some of that later.)

Today also happens to be my very first day at my new job! I've definitely got those first-day jitters going on.

I'm excited because I actually have posts set up for this whole week. Yes, this past weekend warrants an entire week to recap.

First: My birthday.

Friday was my birthday. Tom and I had the day off, and Thursday was my last day at my full-time job. Friday morning we got up and went to Starbucks to finalize a part-time role I am transitioning out of. That was a big weight off my shoulders; I'm finding that a full-time job and writing my books are enough to keep me busy right now.

After that, we walked around Bed, Bath & Beyond and then went to look at wedding rings. I didn't think I would want one that matched directly up against my ring, but I found this one and loved it. It didn't come with my ring, but it happened to fit perfectly. What do you think?


After that, we came home and relaxed before heading off to one of my favorite local restaurants: The Mackinaw Tearoom at the Depot!




We left completely stuffed, but we had more eating to do. We had a wedding cake tasting that afternoon! I have a separate post for that coming up on Wednesday. After that, we went to our favorite Indian restaurant for dinner: Rasoi.


We finished off the night with a movie and eating the rest of our cake samples. It certainly took awhile to recover from all that cake.

So far 24 has been treating me well! Enjoy your week!

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Saying Goodbye, and turning 24

Today is my last day at my first real full-time job out of college. I was there for about a year, and it really was an amazing experience.

My view this morning before I left for work. It was -8 degrees!


My coworkers are fantastic. When you work in an office with 14 women, sometimes things can get dramatic. But at the end of the day, everyone there had each other's backs and genuinely cared about each other.

Leaving won't be easy, but my new position is a major step up, one that will challenge my skills and allow me to grow professionally in so many ways. But right now, for today, I am sad about this chapter ending. Just like I was when I left college. And when I left my last internship. Despite that, I am ready to take on this new opportunity.

It's strange to me that my last day at this job also falls on my last day of being 23. This next year will be monumental in so many ways (finally getting a place with Tom, getting married), so why not kick it off with a major life change?

My sweet co-workers, well aware of my love for tea, threw me a surprise going away tea party/birthday celebration! They had me totally believing it was just another average staff meeting day.


So today I am wrapping everything up and preparing for all the birthday fun to come this weekend, and then a brand new job Monday. Wish me luck!

Cheers to birthdays, new beginnings and wonderful coworkers!





Monday, February 2, 2015

Wedding food tasting, snow and February!

Happy February, friends!

This weekend was as lovely as the weather was dreary. The verdict is still out on whether we will have to shovel - again - to get out of the driveway, but I will save that until after I've had my tea.

Friday evening Tom and I went to go look at tuxes for his groomsmen. We're going for something like this:


Then we got frozen yogurt. Yellow cake batter and red velvet cake flavors! I just...I like cake.


Saturday morning I headed off to the grocery store. I usually go on Sundays, but due to this impending blizzard that dropped 9" of snow on us, I went Saturday. I was not alone. Snow + Super Bowl prep = One packed grocery store. I picked up my favorite juice for the drive home.


I had been SO looking forward to Saturday because it was the day we finally got to sample the wedding food at our venue! They host this big dinner for the couples getting married that year. My dad and stepmom drove up from St. Louis to join us, and it was wonderful.

Our dilemma is that we have to choose two meats, and we loved the chicken marsala, rosemary pork and top sirloin. We still haven't been able to narrow it down.


New sweater from Target - On clearance!


I love our venue. So cool.



After the tasting at thirty-thirty Coffee Co.


Then Sunday morning came, and I woke up to this:


And that was just the beginning. It snowed for the next 12 hours.

Happy groundhog day!




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