Thursday, June 30, 2011

Thankful Thursday: Happy 4th!

I'm thankful for my husband...he cooks for me every night, makes sure I know he is behind me in everything I do, keeps us on a budget, takes care of everything at the house, and the list could go on and on. He is so supportive and has such a big heart. I'm truly blessed.

I'm thankful for true friends...the ones who are there for you no matter what and who make you want to be a better person. I love you all!!

I'm thankful for running. I'm also thankful for the ability to run (thank you PT!). Not only does it keep me in shape, help keep my sanity, and give me my "me" time, but it's given me more opportunities and I've gained so many new friends than I ever imagined. As my tweet might say: #ilovetorun.

I'm thankful for the long weekend. The husband and I are heading to Chattanooga to be with family and friends tomorrow. I CANNOT wait to be on the lake!!

I'm thankful for the men and women who serve our great country, and fight for our freedoms every day. Happy Independence Day, America!! We are so fortunate to live in this wonderful country.

What are you thankful for?

Monday, June 27, 2011

Weekend Wrap-up!

A note about my new blog background...I'm still not 100% set on it, but I've been looking for a more shabby chic look, and this is the closest I could find to what I wanted. I'm a huge fan of Shabby Blogs, but I found The Cutest Blog on the Block to be just as fun. Let me know your thoughts...

Just a quick summary of this past weekend (or as "quick" as quick can be for me...I do love to write, if you haven't noticed).

This past weekend was so much fun! Friday night, I had the pleasure of watching my gorgeous niece, Bailey. My Dad picked her up from daycare, so I wouldn't have to drive out there after work, so that was very much appreciated. THANK YOU, Dad!! Bailey and I took Buster to the park, then we went back to my house and played in the sprinkler. Hearing her say "let's play in the water" and laughing with that most precious laugh just melted my heart...or maybe it was the 100+ degrees making me melt. ;) Kidding. She is such a joy to be around. So thankful for this sweet blessing in our lives!

Saturday, I woke up around 8:30, went for a five-mile run, then met up with my one of my best friends, Kelly. Her wedding is September 24, and Saturday was her first dress fitting. I am just dying to post a pic, but of course I would never do such a thing...but she looks GORGEOUS in it!!! I can't wait to see Will's face when she walks down the aisle. Kelly's other bridesmaids (with the exception of her sister) met up with us at the alterations place, then we all went to Las Delicias for lunch. To all the Memphis peeps who haven't been there, you MUST go!! It's the most authentic Mexican place I've ever been, and it is sooo cheap! The guacamole is to die for, and their margaritas are quite tasty. After that, we headed over to the mall to shop. Everywhere we went was having a sale, so I splurged a bit. I never go shopping, so I figured what the hell (of course the hubby didn't think it was as great of an idea as me). I headed home after that and cleaned the house. I'm not usually a fan of cleaning on a Saturday, but knew I wouldn't be there at all on Sunday, so I wanted to get it over with. Brent got home shortly after I did, helped me clean, and then grilled up a fabulous dinner: honey-glazed salmon, asparagus, shrimp (in his specially-crafted marinade), and bread. Yum!! Oh yeah...he cooked out Friday night as well. He can be such a wonderful wife sometimes. :)

Sunday was another early morning. A great run, albeit later than usual, followed by some last minute errands, and then I picked up Kelly and her mom (who surprised her by coming in town the night before) before heading to Local Gastropub for Kelly's first bridal shower. It was SO much fun!! There were eight of us there, and it was just perfect. Amazing food, amazing mimosas, amazing always. Chris at Local takes excellent care of us! Kelly got some great stuff, and it was just a fun afternoon of friends and sharing stories of what it takes to make a marriage work. It was truly a great time with great company...complete with maybe 5 out of 20 pictures with my eyes open. Ugh, stupid light-sensitive eyes. At least it made for more laughs. :)

Love the style of this pic...especially with the brick background!

The Varsity girls (with the exception of me :)!

Kelly and me!

A parting shot outside Local!

And of course, the True Blood season premiere was Sunday night. Once again, it did not let me down! Here's hoping at least some parts stay true to the book...and judging by the previews, it looks like they will. I heart Eric!!!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Running Buddy

One of the best things about running is being able to run with a friend. It is hands down the best way to stay motivated, and there's nothing like good conversation to make the time go by faster.

At times I consider myself very social; I love spending time with my hubby, friends, and family. Yet other times I can be a bit of a hermit, content being solo in my cubicle or at home. Same goes with running. Except for the occasional meet up for a race, I was a solo runner. I don’t need to tell the average’s tough to find someone who runs roughly your same pace and who has a similar schedule. Oh, yeah, and someone you actually like.

Autumn and I became friends in high school, when she was on the pom squad and I was cheering. We weren't really close then, but we were definitely acquaintances. After my freshman year of college, I came back to Memphis to cheer for the all-girl squad, and then affiliated with the sorority I had joined at Southern Miss (I lucked out, being that Phi Mu would've been my top choice at Memphis anyway). Autumn was the first person to welcome me in, and it was so nice already knowing a few girls. We hung out with the same group throughout our college years, and even though we weren't super close then either, we would always run into one another.

About two summers ago, we started running together. I would always see her at various 5Ks, and when she moved just a couple streets down from me, we decided it was time we became running buddies. Throughout our almost three years of running, she has introduced me to new routes, I'm less lazy because I don't want to stand her up for a 5:30-6 am run, and I've learned to stay on pace. Not only has she kept me motivated, but she encouraged me to run my very first full marathon. While training was somewhat of a downer at times (Autumn wasn't able to finish training due to a foot injury and I had my own struggles), she was there by my side - even on her bike at times - the whole time. And I couldn't have done it without her!

Don't get me wrong, I still love running by myself at times (no music either...just being able to hit the pavement and zone out). And actually, last week was the first time we've run together since a week before the marathon. I took some time off after the race, she was resting her foot, and then we were both in and out of town for various reasons. It sure is great to have her back!

A good friend, Andrea, recommended I read Mile Markers by Kristin Armstrong. It's a book about the beauty of running, the importance of nurturing relationships with those we love, and the significance of reflecting on our experiences. I can't wait to read it!! And I'll be sure to write a review once I do. :)

"At first an ordeal and then an accomplishment, the daily run becomes a staple, like bread, or wine, a fine marriage, or air. It is also a free pass to friendship." - Benjamin Cheever (from my Runner's World Daily Inspiration)

Through my love for running, I have gained a lifelong friend. And I'm so grateful for that!

Autumn and me before the St. Jude Marathon

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Bestie Bonding: NKOTBSB-style

Erika and I have been best friends since the seventh grade. 16 years is quite a long time! She has been there for me through EVERYTHING. First dates, first party (and first of many other silly things), my parents' divorce, surgery, she was the Matron of Honor in my wedding...she is truly the epitome of a best friend.

This past Monday, we got to relive our teenage fantasies. We scored free tickets to NKOTBSB (thank you, The Q Memphis!), and it was AWESOME! It was like going back in time...those boys haven't aged a day! They are still just as dreamy as they were in the 90s. :) If you have a chance to go to this concert, you must. You won't be disappointed!!

Erika and me in front of the FedExForum!

Screaming our heads off as they came on stage!

Forgot how much I heart BSB!

BSB bringin' back the old school moves!

Nick Carter!!!

NKOTB taking it back old one does it better!



Erika and me!

Love you, Erika! As always, we had a blast. Nick and Donnie...I heart you. :)

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Wonderful Wedding Weekend!

First, let me apologize in advance for the book of a post.

I am's been nearly a month since my last post. Having just taken a quick trip to the Dominican Republic (another post coming about that this week), being busier than ever with work, my sister's wedding, and a marketing conference in Boston, I haven't had two seconds to write. I'm not complaining at all, just giving some good excuses for my lack of blogging.

As strange as it sounds, I actually miss all the wedding planning. I joked around at times, saying it felt like I was planning my wedding all over again. But I have to say, I wouldn't trade a single moment of that precious time. My sister and I became closer than ever, and I am so thankful for that!

Laura's wedding "weekend" really started the Saturday before, which was her bachelorette party. Massage, lunch, shopping, and a night downtown. What fun we had! The limo, the lingerie shower, Bar None, Silky's, and Paula Raiford' sister sure knows how to party!

Laura and me at Silky's

Wedding week officially started on Wednesday night. The family went to a fun dinner at My Favorite Place in Cordova. I say "fun" because we were all together...the food was just okay and the atmosphere wasn't at all what we're used to. We need to stick with ol' faithful from here on out: El Mezal never lets us down. :) Nevertheless, we had a great time with even better company! That night, I went over to my Mom's to start putting together the wedding program fans. I actually enjoy doing these stationary projects for my family and friends' weddings, but 300 of them...let's just say I am SO thankful to have had help from my Momma and aunts!

The "before" pic :)

I was off from work on Thursday and Friday, which was much needed. Went for a good five-mile run Thursday morning, followed by my sister's bridesmaid luncheon at the beautiful Heartwood Hall. Everything was gorgeous! Denise truly takes care of her brides, and she definitely made Laura (and all of us ladies) feel like she was one of her own.

The sisters!

Good food and good wine and champagne later, the majority of us headed to Esthetiques Skin Spa for a mani/pedi. While we had fun goofing around and catching up, we were there for over four hours...I don't know about you, but I run out of gossip way too fast for that. We still had a good time, and everyone's nails and toes looked spectacular. FYI, if you go, make sure you ask for Terri. She's fabulous.

Aunt Mignon and me

Laura and her new sis, Jennifer!

That night, my Aunt Mignon and I picked up some dinner for the family and headed back to my Mom's. A couple bottles of wine and lots of laughs later, we finished the lovely programs. Thanks again to Mom, Aunt Mignon, Aunt Lisa, and Tony (the tape master). Couldn't have done it without you...well, I could have. Just not in two days. :)

Laughing at Aunt Lisa after she messed up...again ;)

Friday was jam-packed with errands, and an overall crazy day. It started with a trip to the vet for Buster's annual shots (he was such a good boy!). Next it was a HOT 4.5-mile run...a little later than I would've liked, but that's what I get for sleeping in. After that, I went to my OB-GYN for a checkup (I go every six months now after being diagnosed with PCOS). Things look good for now! Eventually I'll write a post on all that...

I had written Laura a poem, which I was planning to read at the rehearsal dinner. But I had yet to write an actual speech. Waiting rooms are perfect for such thing, so I was able to get it done. After running some last-minute errands, I rushed home to get ready for rehearsal. I went out to my car to grab my speech, and then I realized I had left it at the doctor's office! Luckily we had to go right by there on the way to the venue, so crisis averted! I'd like to say that I'm a good "from the heart" speaker, but I'm way too emotional for that.

Rehearsal started off well...extremely hot, but there was nothing we could do about that. We made it through the ceremony once, and just as we were about to line up for round 2, I started feeling lightheaded. I sat down and tried to compose myself, and after about a minute, I got back up to stand in line. Not 20 seconds later, I knew I was going to faint. I remember trying to sit down and Laura asking me if I was going to faint. Next thing I know, I'm waking up in my Dad's lap with the entire wedding party crowded around me. Sweet Jennifer had caught me before my Dad came rushing to take over. Supposedly I came to and then passed out again. Geez...leave it to me to steal the couple's thunder! Kidding...but at least I was gracious enough to get everyone out of the heat. ;) Having barely eaten anything that day, getting my blood taken, running in 100+ degrees, I'm pretty sure that's a recipe for disaster. Thanks to Jennifer, my Dad, and a couple of Cary's groomsmen for making sure I was okay. Needless to say, the rehearsal ended there.

The rehearsal dinner was so nice. The food was great, I got to catch up with Laura's sweet boss from the Grizzlies, Nicole, and we all got to express our love and well wishes for the happy couple. Next it was onto T.J. Mulligan's for a couple more drinks, and then Laura and I called it a night. It was a special moment for me, staying with my sister the night before her big day. She was just glowing with excitement!

Laura, Melanie, and me at rehearsal dinner

Laura and Cary being silly!

Invitation tray I made for Laura as a wedding gift
(it's so easy and a unique, sentimental gift)

Finally, Wedding Day was upon us! Mom so graciously brought us breakfast, and then we took our time to get ready before Melanie picked us up to get our hair done. A few braids, curls, and lots of hair spray, and then we headed to Heartwood Hall to start getting ready!

When we arrived, a few people were in a state of panic...the cake lady (Brandi Marter of Brandi's Sweets) had dropped the cake. When Heartwood Hall came in to set it up, the cake immediately started falling over. So what did Brandi do? She tore up the check and said "it's not my problem" and walked right out. Umm, excuse me?!?! At least they didn't have to pay for it, but what the hell kind of business is this wacko running? It's their wedding day!! Word to the wise: do NOT use Brandi Marter! But never fear, Denise with Heartwood Hall to the rescue! She called her friends at Oh My Ganache! Bakery, and they came right over, took the cake bake to their shop, and had it back in time for the reception. AMAZING, I tell you...these people are truly amazing!

The girls continued getting ready, and then it was picture time. Savannah and Philip with Ava Grace Photography do some incredible work. Dealing with the insane heat that day on top of a rowdy group of groomsmen...they are angels. Here's a sneak peak of the wedding pics: See what I mean?! :)

Before the ceremony

Just as the ceremony was about to start, we were notified that a huge storm was about to pass through. Everyone quickly got in line, and we made sure to start on time. Prayers work, I tell amazing breeze (albeit a little too much at times) came through and cooled everything down. And not a single drop of rain fell. It was absolutely perfect. As said by Laura, "Today I marry my best friend. I am so blessed and grateful! I love you, C!!" And let me tell you, the love Laura and Cary share was seen by all who were lucky enough to be there on June 11.

The cocktail hour was cut slightly short due to the storm; but that only extended the reception, making the night that much more fun. It was quite the party! Of course, who would expect any less with these two. Good times with friends and family and lots of dancing...that's what life's all about. Congratulations to the happy couple!

THANK YOU, Oh My Ganache! Bakery!!

Mom and her girls!

Dad, Laura, and me!

The hubby and me!

The triplets!

Laura and me at the end of the night!

Mr. and Mrs. Cheston!!

To Laura and Cary: Thank you so much for allowing me to be a part of your most special day. I was honored to stand beside you both, and I am so excited for the adventures that lie ahead of you in this new chapter in your lives. Best wishes and a lifetime of happiness to you both!

Another round of thanks to all those who made this day so special...Heartwood Hall (especially you, Denise!), Oh My Ganache! Bakery, Mahaffey Tent and Party Rentals (linens, tables, and chairs), Ava Grace Photography, Holliday Flowers and Events, and Bead Euphoria Handcrafted Jewelry (bride and bridesmaid jewelry)!