Happy Birthday, America!

A HUGE happy birthday to my favorite country in the world!

Yes, we sang to a nation. Jealous?

As evident by this layer cake (that you can hardly see since my iPhone pictures aren’t exactly DSLR quality) that my little sister slaved over all yesterday, my family’s a bit crazy about the 4th of July. And, when I asked my mom what her favorite part of the 4th was, she thought for a moment and said, “You!”

In my opinion, Independence Day is the absolute PERFECT holiday. You get off from work, you don’t have to buy presents, there’s grilled foods involved, I look great in red/white/blue, and, most importantly, fireworks!

Oh, heck yes!

So yes, maybe I planned every single outfit of my day months in advance to assure maximum patriotic fashion…

I hit up my new gym for a little pre-beach Zumba and, though my headband did scream “AMURRICA!” something was missing…

That’s the ticket!

Of COURSE! A red belly-dancing skirt totally completed the outfit and I sweat my face off shaking those silver discs as loudly as I could.

For the beach, I had something else prepared…

I call this my Freedom suit

I’m pretty sure Ryan has never loved me more than when I texted him this picture.

Walking on the beach, I definitely wasn’t the only one rocking the stars and stripes in bathing suit form, but I didn’t see anyone else with the matching headband, so I think I won.  What, you don’t think every day is a competition? That probably means you’re not winning.

The grand finale was a little number I’d been plotting for some time, and was happy to finally show off.

Beer and Bikes: Does it get more American?

The H&M dress that’s almost too short to qualify as a dress (and only cost me $18!) and the bright red patent leather Sperry’s which ran me about 40-50 at Nordstrom Rack. The result?

Americana.

God bless the USA, and all the fun clothes I get to wear in honor of it….

Did you go red, white, and blue yesterday?

What’s your favorite holiday?

The 61 Hour Wedding Whirlwind Weekend: The Reception

Happy Friday, friends and neighbors.  Today the weekend is starting a little early, though not for anything extremely fun.  When I got to work today, I was feeling decidedly normal, but that faded fast.  Slowly and surely, with tummy rumblings and general malaise, I realized it was bound to be a half day.  It’s likely some perfect storm of not eating a real dinner last night (but nibbling on calamari, shrimp and salsa, and making a peach crumble sundae…), my past two weeks of travel catching up on me, and my own, personal shark week (explanation may be TMI for regular readers, but feel free to click if you don’t understand.)  No matter the culprit, my body just needed some R&R (&S… for salad!)

Taco Salad + a special guest!

I sprinkled some sexy chia seeds on top for a little crunch (and because… you know… all the cool kids do it.) It reminded me of sesame seeds, and the salad was delicious.  Probably very good for me to get some greens into my body after the lousy food and drink I put in my belly last night.

I thank you all for sticking it out and following this wedding journey to the end, and in case you haven’t (but want to) here’s the recap so far:

We all know, to quote a great man, that “After the show, it’s the after parrrrrrrrrtyyyyyy” (R. Kelly, 2003).  The wedding party was danced onto the boat where the reception was held, one of Pittsburgh’s infamous Gateway Clipper Fleet ships.  Unfortunately, one of the groomsmen didn’t quite have his “land legs” yet, and promptly spilled an entire glass of red wine on the table.

Smooth, bro.

Luckily, the crew had it cleaned up in a jiffy, and in a few minutes, after the rest of us got our drinks, the table was again ready for sitting.

Groom, bride, and Bre, the other MOH

Up next was the part of the night I was the most anxious about… the SPEECHES!  First up was Miles, brother of the groom, and best man.

Dapper dude

His speech was top notch.  Clever, touching, and to the point. It touched on the loyalty of the groom, the generosity of the bride, and how right they were for each other.

The other MOH, Breanna, discussed the meeting of Caitlin and Eamonn as a fairytale, starting with dorm rooms and shot glasses.  I’ll admit, I had very little knowledge of this inside joke, but I know it meant a lot to the happy couple, and was happy that someone who actually knew them well as a couple could speak to their love story.

I don’t have any pictures of my own speech, since I was giving it and all, but all of my anxiety flew away the moment someone handed me a microphone. I looked back at Caitlin and tried to speak from the heart, and I did it all without crying at all (though there were some seriously intense cracks in my voice, made me feel like a pubertal boy… one who was about to weep openly in front of his friends.)  It went over well, though, and then the fun could begin!!

Ryan and I cutting a rug (Source: Chrissy K Photography)

Adorable cake topper

Woops, how'd that one slip in there?

Love on the top deck!

And the night was capped off with beautiful fireworks (that were meant for the Pittsburgh Pirates… but we felt like they were all for us!)

Boom boom boom

All in all, I’d say a successful wedding.  Romantic, inspiring, and on a boat.  All the best parts of a night out, right?

Bahahaha now that I have a blog I can post pictures like this ALL THE TIME!

PS my sincere apologies to Ryan, my beau, for being such a camera ham…. and for posting pictures like this.  Thanks for tolerating dating me.

Ok, now I’m off to try and feel better…. maybe with the help of this week’s US Weekly.  Apparently Denise Richards is gonna “tell all.”

I’m riveted.

Do you like celebrity gossip?

Do you take ridiculous pictures of you and your significant other in hopes that one day, you can show them off for all the world to see?

Yeah. Me too.

My apologies

Hey all, and happy Sunday night! (sarcasm… I’m so tired.)

Sorry I fell off the face of the Earth this weekend, I forgot my computer charger in North Carolina (the wedding was in Pittsburgh) and… oh yeah, had to be a Maid of Honor on a wedding weekend!!

Everything was wonderful, and I’ll do a few recap posts in the next several days.  In the meantime, I’ll leave you with a few teaser pictures….

Oh, rest stops in West Virginia... you slay me.

Workout Substitution: Bikini tops are SORTA like a sports bra, right?

Everyone needs a little pampering.

It's all about the details.

It ended, as all good stories do, with fireworks...

 

More tomorrow, now we SLEEP LIKE ROYALTY!!

 

Six Pack Sunday: Tuesday Edition

Ladies, gentlemen, and everything between: Life got in the way of blogging this week (with the exception being my Beach Bunny donut journey post).  Accustomed to having the entire summer to soak up the sun, sand, and all the glory of OCNJ, America’s Greatest Family Resort (I believe this statement 118%), when I can only go on a few select weekends living 400 miles away, I try to jam-pack all the fun I can.  Since I don’t want to bore you with every miniscule detail of my trip (false: I really do wanna bore you with it, but I’m too considerate to explain my deep thoughts on Monkey Bread vs. Kohr Bros [team Monkey 4 LYFE!]), it only made sense to sum things up with a (belated) Six Pack Sunday Tuesday.

Six Pack Sunday: This time, it’s Personal Tuesday

  1. My best friend surprised us all on Saturday night by making an impromptu trip to the shore house.  I waited on the porch for her, and greeted the girl the only way I know how:

    One for me, One for Rach!

    AND A SURPRISE PHOTO SHOOT THE SECOND SHE LEFT THE CAR!

    Clearly, she was excited for the photog-attack.

    Rachel is one of the most inspiring humans I know, having been diagnosed with breast cancer at the insanely young age of 23.  Through the countless 71 doctor appointments (just fact checked with her), a double mastectomy, and never once dropping the ball as she finished every class at Pennyslvania College of Optometry and is about a year away from being a Doctor of Eyeballs.  Every time we’re together, it’s like we’re 11 again, and I love that she brings that out in me.

    Beach babes!

  2. I got the most amazing ring that I’ve ever owned on the boardwalk.  The Spot on the OCNJ boardwalk is normally much too trendy for me.  Trendy, of course, pairing nicely with expensive.  But, sometimes you see something you can’t pass up. You ask a stranger for a coupon. And you walk out wearing this:

    Tentacles + Bling = My new hotness

    Needless to say, I only took it off to apply sunscreen.

  3. Rogue hairs.  We’ve all had them.  They are normally a single freakishly long body hair somewhere like the arm, the neck, or, in some very rare occasions, on your back right by your armpit.

    Ahhhh!! MUTANT HAIR!!

    Thanks to Rachel’s keen eye, we found it before the night’s activities began on Sunday.  Which brings me to my next point…

  4. A REAL-LIFE SIX PACK SUNDAY!!

    The Trail Mix Sampler by Tommyknocker Brewery, brought to you me and Rachel by our fabulous sommelier of suds:

    Thank you, fine sir.

    I’ll be honest, we didn’t do a formal review of them all, it was more of an impromptu tasting.  But there were definitely highlights (and, alas, lowlights) to this trail mix taste fest!

    Tiny Cups + lotsa chips = ingredients for a perfect pre-party sipping soiree!

    The lowlights: Jack Whacker Wheat Ale and Ornery Amber (though this site calls it Vienna Amber?) were my least favorite. Partly due to the fact that they didn’t really taste very good, but more because they were ones that I expected the most flavor from and actually delivered the least.

    The highlights: Maple Nut Brown Ale was Rachel’s favorite, just as she expected, but I was pleasantly surprised with how fond I was of this chocolatey, nutty beer.  My favorite was the Alpine Glacier Pilsner Lager, another surprise as I very rarely go for the Pilsners…  Fresh and flavorful, it was a winner.

    My favorites in order (left = winner, right = no thanks.)

    All in all, not my favorite six-pack as a whole, but there were definitely a few tasty brews, worth checking this brewery out if you’re able to get some/near Idaho Springs, Colorado.

  5. Thanks to a post by Anne of fANNEtastic food, I was inspired to volunteer to whip up some tasty dessert for the family BBQ. All it took was 2 packages of fresh strawberries, Tollhouse Premier White Chocolate Morsels, and a bottle of bright blue sugar crystals.  Melt that chocolate, dip those strawberries, then dive them right into the blue.  Red, white, and blue stripes.  Fresh and sweet, so delicious.

    USA!! (United Strawberries of America)

    Thanks to Anne, these treats were the MVP of the night.  Maybe I’m biased, but this tray (toted around by Ryan, my beau!) was wolfed down faster than you can sing “God Bless America!”

    Whoah, whoah, plenty to go around!

  6.  My patriotic bathing suit, which I have (painstakingly) been saving since I got it my first Six Pack Sunday was a total hit.

    Stars, stripes, and sisters (from different misters)

    I also spent the second half of the 4th of July rocking my new Ole Miss shirt by School House that I purchased at their sample sale a few weeks back!  So much patriotism.

    Ole Miss, by Damn!

    And, since I’m two days late, here’s two other random bits…

  7. Weirdest parts of the weekend?

    Salon by Jordan

    Washing a friend’s hair before we rushed off to see the fireworks and….  maybe some other late night shenanigans happened on the beach late at night.

    Piles of clothes on the sand near the ocean? Bare legs? Your guess is as good as mine...

    Oh, hijinx.

  8. Fireworks.  They were gorgeous, and I observed them with almost religious reverance, only instead of shouting out AMEN when the spirit moved me, I hollered out different names (none official).  My favorites: Golden showers, the dirty olive (green with a tiny red circle inside), Saturn’s Disco (with the ring around it), and Glitter Shots (which should speak for themselves.)

    The most beautiful part of the weekend.

    Fireworks are my favorite things, and any holiday that features them is A-OK with me.  Hence: the 4th is always my favorite.

To continue the patriotism that is my life, I think I’ll go watch the tail end of some 24 and hit the hay REALLLL early tonight.

How were your 4th celebrations? Or Canada Day?

Do you like fireworks or, like my puppies, are you petrified of them?