Tuesday, July 26, 2011

the one where we buy a condo (part 3)

This weekend, Scott and I (mostly Scott) finished the baseboards in our condo, and WHAT a difference new flooring has made. I love it!

(Close up on beautiful floor with baseboard and 3/4 inch round bottom)

(Brazillian Koa close-up)

(My girlie bathroom)

(Closet... clearly I lay out my clothes the night before - check out the white pants/tan shirt against the back wall)

(View from the master bedroom hallway)

(Blurry photo of my cozy reading chair)

(Book case/Desk - you can't see my favorite part of this set-up... the bar section gifted to me by my amazing brothers)

(Our high-top kitchen table)

(Guest bedroom view 1)

(Guest bedroom view 2... ignore the hideous blinds - they are on the short list of needed upgrades)

Monday, July 25, 2011

Quote of the Day: Perfect Pass Edition

There is no defense against the perfect pass. I can throw the perfect pass. - Dan Marino

(A little confidence on a Monday morning is a good thing!)

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Photo o the Day: Seadog Edition

Today Scott and I took a boat tour and it made me fall in love with Chicago (and summer) all over again.

Quote of the Day: Confidence Edition

Confidence doesn't come out of nowhere. It's the result of something... hours and days and weeks and years of constant work and dedication. - Roger Staubach

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Jason Aldean - Dirt Road Anthem

Wedding Recap: Pre Ceremony

The worst night sleep I've ever had came the night before my wedding. I simply couldn't fall asleep, and once I did, I couldn't stay asleep. I was too excited.

When the my alarm finally went off and it was time to wake up, I peaked around the house. My bridesmaids were awake and starting to get ready for the day, and everyone was in awesome, excited spirits.

(Everyone was around, that is, except for Christine. I couldn't find her anywhere. I found out later that she kindly went with my mom to decorate the outside of the church. Apparently, she had offered the night before and my mom didn't want to make her work, so had said something like "Ok, I'm leaving at 7:30... if you really want to, then just be downstairs by then". When my mom went downstairs at 7:15, Christine was already waiting with her shoes on. That's quintessential Christine - always going the extra mile for me).

My hair and makeup appointments began at 9am, with everyone else's beginning at 10.

(I mentioned in an earlier post, but my darling Scott had a beautiful bouquet of white roses delivered to me while I was getting my hair done).

(Nicely done, Special).

After everyone's hair was finished, we again hopped in my mom's car and were driven to the church. This car ride was QUITE the production. A fully coiffed bride in the front seat (veil wailing around) holding a vase full of roses and water, plus four beauty queen bridesmaids crammed in the back seat... along with all of their luggage and all of mine.

As we turned on to the street where the Church was, it really hit me: holy s*it, I'm getting married.

Today. Like, right now.

We went to the church basement, where we all did final preparations and primping, had some carrots and brushed our teeth.

(Those last two could have been just me).

And then, I got dressed. Putting on that dress was one of the best moments of my life. I was officially a bride.
And I couldn't wait to marry Scott.

We soon had our first look, and took a lot of photos in the (picturesque) church:

I had requested the entire bridal party (minus, obviously, our ushers) to be downstairs beginning at 1:15pm (the ceremony begun at 2) to avoid being seen. I also invited Scott's parents to join us during that time. To be honest, it was the longest 45 minutes of my life. I was pacing, watching the clock, so eager and excited for it to begin.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Wedding Recap: Rehearsal

Our rehearsal began at 5pm, and was super laid back and fun. We invited everyone who was a part of the wedding - from readers to ushers to both sets of parents and grandparents. In addition to having great people around us, our Priest is a really awesome, fun guy, and his guidance made the rehearsal fun, laid back and memorable.
We practiced the entire wedding from start to finish - how to line up and walk down the aisle, how the readers would know it was their queue to go to the podium, how my brothers would bring the aisle runner down - everything. After ironing out a few kinks, we were all set for the next day. (I'm very grateful for having a wedding rehearsal, because afterwards my anxiety about the next day was completely gone... whew!)

Our rehearsal dinner was hosted by Scott's parents, and was held at Elmcrest Country Club. We had scoped out several venues, and I'm so grateful we held it where we did. The cocktails were flowing and the food delicious - what more can you ask for? Sadly, I don't have many pictures of that night, but rest assured - it was great. Four of my five bridesmaids stayed Friday night with my mom and me in the house I grew up in, so after the rehearsal dinner we all piled in to my mom's minivan, and were driven back home. We had all had a glass of wine or two, so we were very happy and giggle-y and excited when we got back. After spending a little time unwinding around the kitchen table, we all ventured to bed. After all, the next day was going to be a big one...

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Wedding Recap: Friday

I already recapped the honeymoon, but it came to my attention that I never did a formal blog recap of my wedding weekend events. Though I can't imagine anyone else is dying for the details, but one of the awesome side benefits to blogging is that random details are preserved where they would otherwise not be.

The week leading up to my wedding, I worked on Monday and Tuesday, and then on Tuesday picked up my bridal gown from final alterations and drove home to Cedar Rapids. (That was actually one of the most white-knuckle drives I've had in a long time. I was alone in my parents car, it was very dark out and POURING rain... I digress). I spent Tuesday night through the wedding with my parents in the house I grew up in. My brothers were all still busy with school and work, so those few days before the wedding had a lot of QT with my parents. Though we did finalize last-minute details, we also went for walks, had popsicles on the back porch and just had some nice QT.

The feeling of waking up on Friday May 27th was unlike any feeling I've ever had before. (I'd compare it to Christmas morning times a million). One of the many decisions that my mom and I collaborated on, was the Wedding Zen pact. That is, starting on Friday, no more wedding decisions. At that point, we decided, what's done is done and it's time to start enjoying the once-in-a-lifetime weekend (my only weekend as the bride, her only weekend as the MOB). When I came downstairs that morning we just started jumping around and grinning. It was beginning.

We went to the salon at 10am for my makeup "trial run" (which I had strategically scheduled for the day of the rehearsal dinner because I figured it was a way to get my makeup professionally done for each day of the wedding weekend without having an additional appointment - win win). As I was sitting in the makeup chair getting the finishing touches, in walked my amazing cousins - one of which was a personal attendant and the other a maid of honor. I had a minor (happy) freak out - it was really happening. They were in town for my wedding. Shortly thereafter, Kelly (my other personal attendant) arrived, followed by Scott's mom and sister (who was a bridesmaid). (My other fantastic MOH, Anne, and bridesmaids Sam and Jennie, were traveling Friday morning and therefore met us later in the afternoon). After manicures, my mom, Christine, Jen, Kelly and I all headed back to my parents house for a quick pitstop to change clothes (and, perhaps more importantly, pick up the champagne!) before heading to a restaraunt for the bridal luncheon, hosted by the MOB, my mama.

Speaking of my mom, she had cajoled the restaraunt in to allowing us to bring our own champagne (my favorite kind) which was another win-win. The cost stayed low, and the champagne was free flowing (and, boy, was it ever!) Christine kindly handled the champagne opening/pouring (a really annoying task) which allowed my mom and me to just socialize and emjoy the bridal luncheon. We went around the room and said a line or two about how everyone knew the bride (..er, me) then ordered and ate delicious food, and two super quick hours later, the luncheon ended.

After a short pitstop at home to change and freshen up, it was off to the wedding rehearsal!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

on Henry

Henry Louis Granju was an 18 year old boy from Tennessee. I've never met him, and it's certain that I never will. He died last May, the victim of a drug overdose and a physical attack.

In a (too brief) nutshell, Henry was a teenager, a musician, a brother, son, grandson, friend and, yes, a drug addict. He was plied with drugs by two adults, and then actively kept - unconscious - defenseless and unable to seek help for himself - in their home for hours upon hours. After the pleas of several third parties, he was eventually hospitalized, and though there were brief moments of hope, he never recovered. Henry died on May 31, 2010.

I first heard about Henry through his mom's blog. About other subjects, she's a really good writer, but about Henry? She makes me feel like I know him, like he's my friend. She has started a second blog, Justice For Henry, to that chronicles her struggle to get justice for her son.

I've been tempted to write about Henry before, but today I felt even more strongly. Yesterday, word was released that Henry's case has been officially closed. Knoxville police claim that though an "intensive investigation" has been completed, no arrests will be made.

The fact is, the Henry Granju case was NOT fully investigated - intensively or otherwise. For an absolute horror story of incompetent (and possibly negligent) police work, feel free to read the synopsis and history of Henry's case. (In one of the more glaring examples, Henry, in a rare moment of full awareness during his 31 day hospitalization, reported the sexual exploitation of underage teenage drug addicts. The police did not believe him, and therefore did not investigate).

If you have a few moments, I'd urge you to check out Justice For Henry and sign the Justice For Henry petition.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

on having a roommate

As has been well documented, Scott and I met in college, and dated for 18 months before he accepted an assignment in North Carolina, and then Alabama. We were long distance for about two and a half years, before he came back to Chicago. In the span of our engagement, we went from dating long distance, to dating in the same city (but living separately) to getting married and thus living together. That's a lot of change.

I'll be completely honest - living together is not 100% easy 100% of the time. Before this, I lived alone. Scott lived with his parents. We both liked our living situations, and they both worked well. Neither of us has ever lived with a member of the opposite sex that wasn't a relative. So while we were both excited to start living together, we were also coming from good situations that we liked.

I won't sugarcoat it - there have been challenges while we each figure out how the other person likes (and wants) to live. (For instance, my darling Scott gets up at 5:45 am). I'm positive that the way I like to live has driven Scott nuts a time (or twelve). But I like to think that that is normal, that all new roommates go through a few minutes of figuring each other out and getting in to a new pattern of life and living.

I love living with Scott and not just because I'm so glad to be married him. We definitely have a 2011 marriage. That is - we completely split household chores and duties and items on the to-do list. I can install hardwood floor and he can fire up the washing machine. My life got easier when I moved in with Scott, not harder. He taught me to appreciate full-size garbage cans and legit home-cooked dinners (in my solo years I relied heavily on fine dining a la Lean Cuisine), in addition to a whole list of other great things. I love living with him.

... but, it's not just home cookin' and clean laundry. Living together is not easy all the time. It's been an adjustment getting our internal clocks synched, and getting in to a life rhythm. Though we'd been dating for so long, we'd never really figured out how often we'd do laundry, or who would do it, or how clean we'd keep our place. We have had a healthy dose of "settling in" and figuring out our new life. Each day is better than the one before - less new, more real, more normal.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

#8) Meet Parvin Taraz


Friday Night Lights

My brother introduced me to the show Friday Night Lights, and as a pledge to him I watched the first two episodes... and now I'm hooked. It's my new favorite show, and I can't get enough!

"Clear eyes, full hearts, can't lose" - FNL

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The one where we buy a condo (part 2)

From the moment we bought our condo, we knew the place needed work - specifically, we wanted different floors. (Dirty, brown/grey carpets aren't really our style). Two weeks ago, we got the chance to upgrade... and upgrade we did.

Thanks to some "sweat equity" and a lot of Steil help, we did it. Our new Brazilian Koa floors are just perfect. Thanks Mom & Dad!

Photo of the Day: Motodog

I took this photo with my BB camera on Sunday en route home from Dubuque. Look closely - there's a dog wearing goggles :)

Monday, July 11, 2011

Laura and Joe: July 9, 2011

On Saturday I witnessed my cousin Laura marry her Prince Charming - and what a wedding it was. By far one of the most fun weddings in history. So happy for the Manos', and such a fun night with my cousinfriends. (It's safe to say my feet still haven't recovered from the dancing). Delicious food and drink, a beaming bride and groom, and great company - what more do you want in a wedding?

As my cousin Jenifer said in her maid-of-honor speech "here's to love and laughter and happily ever after!"

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Steel Magnolia - Last Night Again

This song is high on my rotation this week.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Miniseries Review: The Kennedys

I've been wanting to watch the Kennedy miniseries for quite some time, and this past month, I got the chance.

It originally aired on cable, but I watched it via instant streaming Netflix. The miniseries was comprised of eight 44 minute episodes, each centering on a specific two incidents the Kennedy family - one political, one personal (for instance, the Cuban missile crisis and Jackie contemplating leaving her cheating husband).

I wasn't sure what to expect - I have a fascination with all things Kennedy, and a weird obsession with Katie Holmes (don't ask), but sometimes I feel like situations like this are really exaggerated to make the point.

And it WAS exaggerated. Katie Holmes was a visible stunner as Jackie O, and I couldn't get over the timeless qualities of her amazing outfits, but her cheesy, non-authentic accent really grated on my nerves. Joseph Kennedy Sr. was excellently acted, but a scary character. I was intrigued by him, and also a little unnerved. (There was one scene in particular where a Kennedy barely won an election and said something to the effect of "wow, that was the tightest election in history" to which the Sr. Kennedy responded "You think I'd buy a landslide?")

I think it'd be hard to portray a man like JFK - someone so recognizable and popular and loved, but I need to give credit where it's due: Greg Kinnear as JFK was uncanny. There were several moments during "flashback" black-and-white scenes where I was momentarily unsure if it was stock footage of actual events or filmed to look like from that time. He was fabulous.

And speaking of fabulous, I really enjoyed seeing more about RFK in general, and separately his relationships with Ethel (they had ELEVEN children!!!) and Jack.

Overall, I'd recommend watching it if you have the chance. I understand the real Kennedy's objected to the making of the miniseries, and I can't say I blame them. Their flaws are not camoflauged, but I walked away even more interested, intrigued and fascinated.

Photo of the Day: Cubs Rooftop

Not a bad way to spend a Tuesday night.