Daddy Dearest

We just found out that we have the day after Thanksgiving off for a holiday. I consider this an early Christmas gift so, in turn, as much as I am ashamed to admit it, my mind decided to make the connection to Christmas through song.

I’ve been singing (in my head) (mostly) “All I Want for Christmas” since we found out.  Please, don’t ban me from my favorite store, Nordstrom!

But honestly, this blessing may seem small to some, but when you live hundreds of miles from your immediate family members, every day is precious, especially around the holidays. And, in less than a week, I’ll be going home to my favorite people on the planet.  But there’s one in particular that I’d like to focus on today.

So Professional, yeah?

My daddio. He’s kind of absolutely a big deal in the movers and shakers of the courtroom, and I’m proud to say he’s been on the “Best of” for his profession for the past three years.  But that’s just stuff you can find out from a quick Google search. So I’ll spare you all.  I’m here to write about the man that I’ve known and loved longer than any other.

One heck of a family portrait

To the man who had five kids in 9 years, and served as a human jungle gym as we scurried and climbed all over him, trying to claim “king of the mountain” on our father.  I swear, growing up, I was certain he had extra arms, because he was always holding one of our hands or carrying another or adjusting the one that was on his back.  He’s such a pro, you’d swear he majored in “baby juggling” at school.

A perfect match

To the man that makes my mom happy every single day. The one that texts her a little love note in the morning, just about every morning. The one that searches high and low to find her the perfect present for Christmas and birthdays (even if I botch it and suggest that the “perfect present” is a dessert tray. Oops, sorry mom!)

Proud of his girl

To the guy that looks at his wife the way teenage boys look at the girl they’re taking to prom. It’s like he sees her and thinks, “WOW! How did I get so lucky?!”

I’ve never seen him prouder than the night of her Grad Party celebrating her graduation from grad school.

Tar Heel BABY!

Wait. I may have seen him prouder, and that’s when I graduated from UNC. He’s the man that supports his family without question, in any and every way possible.

His hours at the work are nothing compared to the hours he spent driving us to tournaments, cheering us from the bleachers as we swam, spiked, dribbled, blocked, and shot. He’s our number one fan, and I always worked a little harder when I heard him shout “GO JORDY!!”

Family Fun

Here’s to the guy who taught me that family comes first. The one who drives two hours to pick his mom up and bring her home when Hurricane Irene is on the horizon. The one who cares for his nieces and nephews like they’re his own, and the man who made every Christmas morning magical.  This is honoring the guy whose handwriting looks EERILY similar to Santa’s and the Toothfairy’s (a conclusion I didn’t reach for years upon years.)

Get you some, Daddy!

Here’s to the guy who everyone would describe as serious and straight laced, but the one that taught us that, when there’s a song you love, you’d better dance your face off.

Looks like it rubbed off, eh?

Bros Dads Icing Bros?

To the man who iced his son.

I’ll never forget that moment.

Here’s to the trunk of my family tree, my Dad. The one who was there when I was born, the one I look forward to one day walking down the aisle with, and the one who’s turned from a father to so much more, to one of my best friends.

Happy Birthday, Dad, and thanks for everything!!


Wedding Shower WIN!

Gooooood afternoon (or morning, depending on when you read this) friends!

I’ve been on a hiatus with lots of traveling (NC to PA to NJ to PA and back again) this past weekend and yesterday was overwhelmed with business and action. Airport to work to the Apple store to home to dinner to two volleyball matches. By the time I got home (around 10pm) after a 5am wakeup call… Writing was the last thing on my mind.

Wanna know the first?


But now I’m back after a fantastic sleep, and a fantastic lunch, to regale you with the awesomeness that was my cousin, Whitney, and her hubbytobe, Ted’s Wedding Shower!

These two love-bugs have a fantastic NYC wedding planned for this October, and invited me to do a reading at the ceremony, so I felt especially excited to help make the party fantastic and extra-special. And, in lieu of sharing every single aspect of the whole wonderful wedding weekend a la my friend, Caitlin‘s Whirlwind Wedding Weekend, I think this time I’ll just choose the highlights that I felt like made the party absolutely PERFECT!

1. Why Segregate when you can all CELEBRATE?!

A Boy Girl Party!!

Whitney and Ted (the couple in the bottom right of that picture) decided to have a wedding shower open to couples, not just the standard bridal shower. This gave the event more of a party feel and led to fun times for all!! Though my better half couldn’t make it, the fun of having loved ones there was only magnified by all the folks, both girls AND boys!!!

2. Heartfelt and Homemade!

So many tasty treats

I know this is a HORRIBLE photo, quality-wise, but the food was OUT OF THIS WORLD!  I get the feeling it had something to do with the fact that everything (with the exception of these cheese for the cheese plate) was made by my family members. We had Aunt Mary’s pizza dip, Rietz’s Meatballs, Barbara’s tortellini sticks, Maggie and Katie’s mushroom puffs, and Aunt Judy (the mother of the bride)’s crab balls! The entrees were sausage and pepper sandwiches and chicken/asparagus/tomato/spinach SOMETHING. Either way, it was all tastier than the last bite. Perfect. And the meal was cooked with love, down to the last drop.

3. Wanna Wine Down?

By resident Sommelier: ME!

We had a wine tasting! 3 different types of Cabernet Sauvignons, 3 different types of Sauvignon Blancs, and lots of new wine to try! Paired with four different fancy cheeses (including my new favorite: drunken goat cheese!!) I made little rating sheets for everyone to use and, though not EVERYONE was interested in the wine (many went straight for the cocktails), it was a fun way to break up the night a bit and try something new. It also split the tent area so that not everyone was scrunched next to the bar (as often happens during parties, I’ve noticed.)

4. Pinata? Why not-a?

Ted and Whitney Effigies? Sure!

My mom and aunt picked up Whitney and Ted’s likenesses in the form of a pair of pinatas! (I’m pretty sure my mother wasn’t aware that the little boy she bought was Diego, Dora’s happy-go-lucky buddy, and I’ll admit, Ted looks nothing like an adventurous Hispanic boy, but it totally worked. They were filled with Hershey Kisses and it was HILARIOUS to watch Ted bat the ever-loving KISSES out of those bad boys (er…. bad boy and girl.)

Wow, you can see the blond head flying!!

Whitney also tried.... A for Effort, Whit!

5. We are the Dancing Queens

Yeah, that giantess in the Tarheel sweatshirt? That's me.

If there’s one thing that pretty much ALWAYS happens at my family parties, it’s dancing. And we may or may not have definitely got a noise complaint after midnight for partying too hard (we just don’t know any other way). The dancing continued later at a nearby bar (where the noise won’t ever be complained about) but let’s just say that the last 2 hours of my night were spent dancing my butt off. The best.

6. All You Need is Love

Tiny cousin and Giant cousin

Beautiful speech by my Aunt Judy

The happy couple showing off their moves!

Luckily, my family’s got that in droves.

So much fun was had, and it was different from any shower I’ve ever been to… But it was just right for the Maurer clan.

Typical post-shower aftermath, right?

What makes a great wedding shower, in your opinion?

If you’ve ever been married, what were your favorite parts of your shower?


BodyJam: Booty Blast Edition

Good morning lovely ladies and gentlemen!

It’s a GORGEOUS Sunday morning and, after looking at a forecast for nasty weather all weekend, I’m happy to say that was the opposite of what really happened.  It has only deepened my belief that I can trust the weather man/woman as far as I can throw them (which, despite how jacked I am, is not very far).

Maybe the weather person weighs 10 lbs? If so, I'm set.

After a quick breakfast of cinnamon cranberry pancakes (using the complicated recipe of Hungry Jack Pancake and Waffle Complete Wheat Blends + cinnamon + Ocean Spray Craisins) and some sugar free syrup, I was fueled enough to hit the gym, and hit it hard.  Despite having just spent my rent’s worth of money on workout clothes at the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale (which starts July 15, GET YOUR SHOPPING SHOES READY, FOLKS!), I donned my normal workout attire, not really expecting too much from this workout.  You know how sometimes you go into the gym and it feels almost like your duty?  This was one of those days.

Well, a few minutes into the BodyJam class, that opinion quickly changed. The class was with Alison C., my favorite instructor at O2 Fitness in Chapel Hill because she makes everyone so comfortable in getting down and dirty with their dance moves.  We were popping, we were locking, dropping, dripping, snapping, spinning, I think maybe someone taught us how to dougie (if you don’t know how to dougie, use this instructional video.everyone will think you’re cooler than you already are, especially if they watch you practicing.)

Those peaks? Probably dougie-ing.

We finished the class with a house/tribal set that DESTROYED my booty.  There were a lot of kicks, jumps, and a weird scoop leg move that blasted my booty.  The whole rest of the day, every time I sat down/stood back up, I got that sore reminder of how smooth my moves were.  Fantastic booty burn.  I complimented that blast with 30 minutes on the reclined bicycle, reading my book du jour, The Justice Game by Randy Singer. It was great because I didn’t even realize how long I was riding, and VOILA it was pool time!

Before the pool, we stopped by Quiznos where I picked up a small toasted Veggie Caprese and some baked Lay’s.

Poolside Gourmet

More pooltime, more sunshine, more reading, and it was time for dinner! (I know, my life revolves around food.)  Having burned over a thousand calories at my workout earlier, I felt as though I had some room to indulge.

99 cent margaritas? Don't mind if I do.

Which, of course, was followed by an UNBELIEVABLY GOOD meal.

Chicken Quesadilla, Chile Relleno, and beans (the magical fruit.)

This has inspired me to make a chile relleno of my own ASAP! I don’t know what I’ve been doing avoiding these my whole life but peppers + mexican fillings = dream come true.

We migrated to Roth Brewing Company (which will be a separate post entirely), had a blast, and finished the night off with some serious dance battles on XBox Kinect.  Never in my life have I enjoyed playing a “video game” before!!  I whipped out a few of those BodyJam moves, and (of course) went undefeated.

That's me cutting a rug at my best friend, Cait's, bachelorette party.

Best night I’ve had in the Triangle in some time, and was filled with friends, food, and (luckily for my waistline) fitness!

Do you like to dance?  If so, where? The club? The Discotheque? Group fitness classes? Dance studios?

Have any good recipes for stuffed peppers?

Enjoy this stunning day, and the tail end of your weekend!