Friday, December 12, 2008

Prayer for Kaiya.


I ask that you please pray for the daughter of our wonderful friends, Heidi and Mark DeKorne. Their nine-week-old daughter, Kaiya, was diagnosed with bacterial meningitis earlier today. You can find more information about Kaiya, as well as updates from her parents, by visiting

Heidi and Mark have listed their specific prayer requests on the care pages site.

Thank you for praying with me for this family I love so dearly.


P.S. There is a link to the DeKorne family blog at the left.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

The requisite belly picture.

Here I am at nearly 16 weeks. I will try to get one with my head in it at some point.

I can't believe how small my chest looks.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Well, I used to have standards.

Dear maternity designers,

Why do you hate the pregnant women of the world?

I'm serious. What did we ever do to you? Did a pregnant woman push you down some stairs? Yell at you in a hormonal rage? Did your mother force you to listen to Rush Limbaugh in utero?

Whatever happened, it must have been awful. Scarring, even. Because I can think of no other reason for you to design such hideous and ill-fitting maternity wear. It's pretty clear you're out for revenge.

I'm a girly-girl. I like clothes. A lot. And I am very particular about them. This is not to say I have an amazing wardrobe — I've certainly made my share of unfortunate purchases. However, I have standards. Standards which should be adhered to, even when sporting a stomach the size of a watermelon.

While my standards extend to most everything (For example, sweaters should always be fitted and hit mid-hip. There is nothing worse than a short, boxy sweater.), they are most important when it comes to jeans.

Jeans need to be cute, comfortable, versatile, and long enough to wear with heels. They have to be at least 95% cotton. Jeans with too much stretch hug all the wrong places, and make you look like a trashy teenage girl. They also become misshapen after about 20 minutes of wear. A perfect pair of jeans is dark wash, with a straight or slightly flared leg, and a trouser-y look to them. They can be dressed up for work or dressed down for play.

Unfortunately, jeans like this do not exist in maternity wear.

Okay, that's not entirely true. I could buy a pair of designer maternity jeans for $150-$250. But that's not going to happen. I'm not spending tons of money on a pair of jeans I can only wear for six months. I would need some type of written guarantee that the style would still be appropriate years from now when I decide to have another child — or that they can be easily converted into regular jeans post-delivery. And even then, I'd still be hesitant to spend that kind of money on pants. I did that once, on a pair of 7 for all Mankind jeans, and almost immediately gained weight and couldn't wear them anymore. I considered that a very important, very expensive shopping lesson. (It could also be considered a very important eating less and exercising more lesson, but let's not get technical.)

I am finally to the point where regular pants no longer fit (I've been walking around the office with my zipper down, totally professional-like), so I dragged myself to the Mall of America on Monday night. I figured the MOA was my best shot at finding jeans — especially since i have the added bonus of needing long length.


The Gap and Old Navy don't carry long lengths in their store. You can order them online (which I tried to do from the Gap - but ended up with a pair that was too big and a pair that fit but was mislabeled "long" when it should have been "ankle"). So I ventured over to Motherhood Maternity, the store my friend Jo calls "the weird store." And she's right, it's totally weird. Kind of like a cross between Walmart and JC Penney. Crowded, unorganized...just bizarre. And of course they don't carry long lengths in the store either. The sales girl said they carry them online, but they must be sold out, because I can't find them.

I ended up trying on jeans there despite the length issue, because short pants are better than unbuttoned pants. And I found two pairs that work. I use the word "work" loosely, because they are stretchy, not particularly attractive, and I can't wear heels with them. But the stomach (secret fit belly, which came highly recommended by my girlfriends) is big and stretchy and soooo comfortable. And at some point, comfort and the ability to keep your underwear hidden from coworkers becomes more important than personal standards.

Which is probably what those bitter maternity designers are betting on. They think we're so desperate for pants we'll take any ugly old thing they're selling.

They are mostly right.

However, no amount of desperation could have convinced me to purchase the Liz Lange for Target jeans I tried on last night. They looked normal on the rack, but to my surprise and dismay, they were skinny jeans.

Skinny jeans with a pregnant belly? You have got to be kidding me, Liz. I don't care what horrific thing happened to you at the hands of a pregnant woman. You probably deserved it, given those terrifying pants.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Here we go...

I love my dog.

Love, love, love her. I look at Mattie's cute little face, and I get all melty inside. I love when she climbs on my lap to chomp on her bone, and I really love when she gets in our bed and wiggles her way under the blanket to curl up next to me. I love when she prances around with two toys in her mouth (she is a very talented puppy), and when she plays "soccer" — batting a ball around with her little white paws, always with another toy in her mouth. I love how excited she gets when I come home from work, and how she leaps and spins around in delighted circles while waiting for me to feed her dinner. I love how she gives me the stare-down with those big brown eyes whenever I'm eating anything — she's smart, and I'm an easy target.

Mattie has brought so much happiness to our home — Nate and I both adore her, and neither of us can imagine our life without her. She's badly behaved (they could have easily called the book "Mattie and Me" instead of "Marley and Me") and she's spoiled rotten, but she's ours. We are madly in love with her.

Which is why I'm a little concerned about how much we are both going to freak out come May 24, the anticipated arrival of baby Breyer.

If I love my dog that much — a dog who has chewed on our woodwork, eaten my underwear, barfed chocolate cupcakes all over the interior of my car, left hair on every surface of my house, dug holes in our yard, chewed up two pairs of my shoes and cost us many dollars in unnecessary vet visits — how much am I going to love my child?

This scares me.

I didn't even like dogs a year and a half ago. And now I sob every time I see that Sarah McLachlan save the dogs infomercial.

We are in for it, big time. That little baby is going to turn us both into huge piles of mush and I am going to become sappy and overprotective and annoying.

I'll be a mom.

And I can't wait.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

A new era.

No, this is not about Obama's win on Tuesday night.

It's about flying. And how I have long despised Northwest Airlines.

The people who work for Northwest are unhappy. The people flying on Northwest are unhappy.

It is a generally unhappy experience for everyone involved.

Unfortunately, it is essentially the only experience available to those of us living in Minneapolis. Despite having a truly great hometown airline, Sun Country (which is now in trouble, thanks to local businessman/sleazeball Tom Petters), Northwest has the corner on air travel to and from Minneapolis.

Of course it's not the only airline you can choose to fly, but the others — American, United, Continental — are always significantly more expensive. Northwest is our hub, and therefore the primary source of escape for Minnesotans.

Which, to put it bluntly, sucks.

Having traveled back and forth to Midway about a million times since I moved here 10 years ago, I am a seasoned NWA traveler. While the flights were never pleasant (one time I received a cup of warm water in a container just like those little ice cream sundae cups you used to get as a kid — a tiny plastic cup with a paper lid you pull off by a tab!), they were affordable. Until this year, I'd never spent more than $175 for a flight from Minneapolis to Chicago. And I would have considered $175 to be on the expensive side. Heck, when my dad first moved to Minnesota and had to fly back and forth on weekends to see us in IL, he got tickets for $99.

Minneapolis to Chicago is a 90-minute, 400 mile flight. There is no reason for it to cost more than $175. Which I know isn't that much, but Nate and I have flown to MEXICO for $160 round trip. Yes, that was a one-off...but still. It happened! And it doesn't seem fair to pay just as much to travel a significantly shorter distance.

So, imagine my delight when AirTran entered the Minnesota travel market. AirTran, a discount airline based in Atlanta, offered travelers incredibly inexpensive flights, great flight times, and friendly service (although my parents were actually removed from a flight coming to Minneapolis after an AirTran ticket agent snapped at my mom and she called him out on his behavior. Luckily the Chicago police only detained them for a short period of time and they made it on their scheduled flight. Mom, if you are reading this, I'm sorry — you will never live this down. You got kicked off a plane!).

I loved flying AirTran. And they kept Northwest's rates competitive. Which didn't really matter to me, because I would never choose Northwest over AirTran. Even if the NWA flight was a teensy bit cheaper, I would always book with AirTran. Who wouldn't choose comfort and friendliness over squished seating and cranky flight attendants?

Alas, my happily-ever-after with AirTran was not meant to be. For some reason, the airline dismissed all flights between Minneapolis and Chicago earlier this year.

So where did that leave me? Purchasing a $350 plane ticket on Northwest one weekend (which my mom and sister kindly split with me), and driving back and forth at nearly $4.00 a gallon multiple times throughout the summer and fall.


Earlier this week, I heard that Northwest was offering discounted fares on holiday travel, so I got all excited and searched for flights around Christmas...only to be sorely disappointed. Last I checked, $340 is not a discounted fare.

Luckily, help is on the way in the form of another discount carrier. Southwest Airlines recently announced that they will begin service between Minneapolis and Midway in March. This makes me happy for many reasons, but one of them is that my dad has miles. Which means regular visits from my parents...or possibly regular visits to my parents, paid for by my Dad (this may be wishful thinking, but we'll see).

Additionally, Southwest provided their fares to and from Chicago — $69 each way! Which, according to my expert calculations (using a calculator, of course), adds up to $138. A whopping TWO HUNDRED dollars cheaper than stupid Northwest is charging right now.

Northwest will, of course, match Southwest's fares on this route. Which I'm sure doesn't mean they've been screwing us over for the past few months. No, I'm guessing there will be a magical drop in expenses related to this route come March, and they will lower their prices because it's the right thing to do for their beloved customers, and not because Southwest forced them to do it.

I politely request that Northwest take its little ice cream cup of water and shove it.

Yay for Southwest!

Monday, November 3, 2008


Forgot to post the pictures from the decorating class.

See, kind of bleary-eyed (bleary-brained?) today.

These are really only to show the magnitude of this woman's creativity. She went through each and every thing on this table and told us how she did it.

What the heck.

Busy having fun.

I have been slacking, big time.

Not just on the blog, on everything. My house is a mess, my fall decorations are still in boxes, and I am out of clean clothes. I owe about 20 people cards or gifts celebrating babies, weddings, showers, new jobs, new houses, etc. (Sorry, everyone.)

I blame much of this on my current state, which is general exhaustion. But some of the blame must be assigned to my (once again) hectic schedule.

Nate and I make waaaaay too many plans. And I have severe problems with over-committing. I'm working on both of these things. The good news is, all of our plans have been a lot of fun.

I have yet to post about my sister Jill's wedding, which took place in Illinois the weekend before last. It was beautiful, and my sister looked amazing. Of course I was busy with matron of honor duties, so I took very few pictures. I'm patiently waiting for other people to send me theirs. Until then, I will just say it was a ton of fun. More details to come once I have photos to share with you.

In the meantime, I will share some photos from this past weekend. Nate and I went back to McCormick House in Hayward, Wisconsin for the weekend — this time with our friends Eric and Lisa Hall.

Nate and Eric practically grew up together — their families spent every summer vacationing at the lake together. Eric has two sisters, Laura and Julie, and our two families are still incredibly close. We celebrate every Thanksgiving together, make the annual trek to Dave Matthews at Alpine Valley, and spend a week in Mexico together every January. We even have a nickname for our group — The Brall (Breyer + Hall = Brall. Aren't we clever?). Eric and Lisa are dear friends of ours, and since they live five hours away in Appleton, Wisconsin, we decided to meet in the middle (not really, it was a 4.5 hour drive for them, and only a 2.5 hour drive for us) for a weekend of fun.

Per usual, we didn't really do much while we were there. Friday night we went to a local brew pub for dinner, and hit the hay pretty early. Saturday we each had an hour-long massage, and spent most of the day lounging around. We did get in a rousing game of croquet, as well as a brief walk into town (stopping only to stock up on Laffy Taffy and gummy strawberries at the candy store). We went out for pizza (at Coop's, home of strange stuffed beasts and viking paintings), came back and played what was quite possibly the funniest game of scattergories ever, and ended the evening in the hot tub.

Sunday morning we had a delicious breakfast headed back home. Nate and I had to get home early because I took a holiday decorating class with my mother-in-law, Mary, and my sister-in-law, Mary (yes, there are two ladies named Mary Breyer in our family). The class was awesome. It focused on table settings for the holidays, from Thanksgiving through Christmas, and offered a TON of inspiration. I actually started to get kind of cranky toward the end of the class, only because I can't believe any one person could be so creative. I felt simultaneously inspired and overwhelmed. But it was still incredible and really good. I took some photos, which I will post below.

Following the class, we celebrated my father-in-law's birthday (a few weeks late, of course, because we're hard to schedule). A pile of spaghetti and two delicious desserts later (don't judge me, everyone ate some of both), we made our way home.

It was a fantastic weekend, but I am a little bleary-eyed today.

Next up: a weekend-long holiday shopping trip to Galena, IL with my mom, Nate's mom, my sister-in-law, and her mom. We leave on Thursday, so I'm sure I'll have plenty to share next week!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Getting Noticed: A primer.

According to the subject line of this email, this coat will get me noticed.

Let's go in for a closeup, shall we?

Yes, well, I suppose someone would notice if I wearing this shiny, poofy, ugly-as-sin coat Nordstrom is hocking. They would notice me, and they would say to themselves, "Gee, I'm pretty sure I had that coat in 1989. Yes, in fact, I know I did. I wore it on the playground in sixth grade while playing tag with my best friend Tiffany. Over my NKOTB sweatshirt and leggings. Remember how cool my hair looked crimped?"

Just the type of reaction every girl hopes for when wearing something new.

Please spend your $149 elsewhere. Perhaps on one of these other truly attention-grabbing (in a good way) coats from Nordstrom. Coats Nordstrom should have highlighted in this email instead of that monstrously out-of-date-looking pufftastic piece of outerwear. Coats people may actually be inclined to purchase.

I don't blame the nice folks at Nordstrom for this error in judgment. I blame the coat's "Fine Shine." It's hard to be discerning with that much late 80s/early 90s glitz coming at you.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

This is too cool.

I have always been obsessed with mysteries. And if there's a murder involved — well, that's even better.

I know, I'm weird. But I accept that about myself. And you should, too.

What started out as a deep love for Nancy Drew turned into an obsession with Agatha Christie, a playful interest in Lillian Jackson Braun (she writes cat mysteries — they are great, don't judge me), and a mindless affair with Mary Higgins Clark. And while I haven't read anything by any of these authors in quite some time (like maybe 10 years), I still get my mystery fix in the following two ways:

1) Clue. THE BEST BOARD GAME ON EARTH. (Do not argue with me. I am a good arguer, and I will win.) There are two versions - Clue, and Clue Master Detective. The latter is the expanded version, and it's my favorite. Unfortunately for you, they don't make it anymore. But fortunately for ME, my mom bought it for me on eBay last year. My parents also still have my original game from 1988. Secretly, I always wanted to live in the Clue mansion. Despite the likeliness of losing my life in the library, with the wrench, at the hands of Professor Plum.

2) Crime shows. I am a die-hard fan of Law & Order: SVU, but also enjoy the occasional episode of CSI. I really liked CSI a few years ago (as did the rest of the planet), but then we got a DVR and I got hooked on a million shows and had to cut something out. And I'm sorry, there is no contest between Gil Grissom and Elliot Stabler. Have you seen Stabler without a shirt? Um, yeah. So now I just watch SVU, though I catch reruns of CSI here and there.

So, there you go. I love mysteries. Ideally, I would spend my days solving them. Which is why I find the prospect of visiting CSI: The Experience incredibly exciting.

I mean, really. Could there be anything cooler than scanning crime scenes, collecting evidence and trying to crack three cases — for the bargain admission price of $16 per person?

I think not.

Well, unless it was Clue: The Experience. But that would be waaay too good to be true.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Poetry for people like me.

I love Brian Andreas.

His work used to be kind of hard to find (I purchased my first print in the mid-90s), but now he's pretty mainstream. Still, I find he has an uncanny way of capturing things I think or feel but can never say — things that would sound overly romantic and/or insane in conversation. Which is why I would like to fill my entire house with his work. That way, I wouldn't have to say anything. I could just point.

While I have many favorites, I have always coveted this one:

As long as the sun shall rise goes the old lovers vow.
But we are children of a scientific age & have no time for poetry.
Still, I offer a quiet prayer of thanks for the sunlight each time I see your face.

If such a simple — albeit beautiful — statement can be poetic, why is it that we have no time for poetry?

Don't be fooled. We have time. Plenty of it. We just spend it all watching that horrible remake of 90210. (By "we" I clearly mean "you people." I would never watch something so poorly acted.)

I came across a public art display online today — Everyday Poems for City Sidewalks. It's an incredible idea, stamping poetry into sidewalks. Who doesn't have time to enjoy a few lines of poetry while walking the dog or waiting for the bus?

Kudos to artist Marcus Young for making poetry part of our everyday lives. Especially those of us who live in Saint Paul and spend way too much time watching bad TV.

Friday, September 19, 2008

It's not that I don't love you anymore...

It's just that I have nothing much to say.

Sorry for the long pause between posts. But the last truly interesting thing I did was visit my friends two weeks ago in Michigan (and that was only marginally interesting to anyone outside the five of us). Since then I've been sitting on my couch. And that's pretty much it.

My trip to Michigan was the end of what I am pretty sure was the busiest summer of my life. I was either out of town or busy every weekend from June-August. While it felt fairly awesome to tell people I was "booked through mid-September" the reality of those words was far from glamorous.

I'm tired, people.

And so I sit. And I will continue sitting until I have fully recovered from the trips, the daytime excursions, the bbq's, the nights out with friends, the concerts, the invitation making, the shower throwing and the bachelorette partying. I will sit, and watch all the episodes of Psych stored on my DVR, and drink lemonade and pat my dog. Occasionally I may turn off the TV and get up to make a snack or find something to read. But then I will immediately go back to sitting.

Glorious, glorious sitting.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

The girl has good taste.

I had the latest flight home this weekend, so April, Heidi and I spent a little extra time together at Heidi's house Monday night.

Ava liked my purse. Way more than she liked sitting still for pictures with us.

If home is where your heart is...

Then I have homes in Michigan, Texas and Ohio.

Somehow, after seven years, 15 moves, eight home purchases, three babies (and two more on the way), two master's degrees, at least 15 new jobs and an average of 500 miles in between us at all times, we are still friends.

In fact, I think we're closer after all those life changes than we ever were in college. We act more like sisters than friends — and yes, that includes borrowing each other's stuff and driving each other crazy. But despite our many quirks (and oh, do we have them), we love each other dearly. Which is why we make it a priority to see each other for a weekend at least once a year.

This year we ended up at a lake cottage in Michigan. For three days we hung out in our pjs, ate loads of terrible-for-you food, went shopping, and talked about life.

In that respect, not much has changed since we graduated.

Except now I love them even more.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Work to live? Or live to work?

I have this cute little box of macaroons on my desk, courtesy of my friend/colleague David, and his wife, Becca. Becca is something of a domestic goddess...she fell in love with cooking while house sitting for friends with an awesome kitchen, and she hasn't looked back. Now she's launching a business called KitchenNut (she has a blog, too). David told me she's starting slow with one product (the macaroons) and is hoping to build from there.

Her baked goods are to die for, and they are packaged and labeled sweetly, thanks to David's stellar design. Becca is destined for success.

So, now I'm sitting at work after an eight hour day, staring at this darling little box of treats (willing myself not to eat them, but that won't last), and wondering how I got here.

I work for a design firm. A good one. We do great work, our clients love us, and we like and respect each other. My job is manageable. I have flexible hours. I get to work on a Mac. I'm surrounded by beautiful design, which I truly appreciate in any form. The company pays for me to attend fun events, like Magazine Day.

There are many, many good things about my workplace (Free Diet Coke, I've heard, is not available everywhere. This saddens me.).

And yet.

Growing up, I thought I'd be a teacher. During college, I planned to become a newspaper reporter. By the end of college, I wanted to be a magazine editor. In fact, I was certain I would become a high-profile editor at a fashion magazine, live in New York City, and be all kinds of glamorous. And I thought that was likely to happen pretty quickly. Maybe not right out of school, but definitely by 25.

I started out as a Bloomingdale's sales girl at the Mall of America. In Bloomington, Minnesota. (Also known as the glamour capitol of the world.) The clothes were awesome, but I got myself in loads of debt and therefore needed to make more money. Onward, upward.

I moved on to a receptionist position at a hair salon (that was boring and lasted less than 6 months), and then to an interactive agency in NE Minneapolis, where I answered phones, ran errands, stocked the fridge and wrote copious amounts of copy for next to no pay. I made more than I had at Bloomingdale's, but not much. So I supplemented by continuing to pick up shifts at Bloomingdale's and working an additional 3-4 nights a week at cute little housewares/gift shop.

(Yep, that's right. I worked three jobs. I can't wait to use the old "Well, when I was your age..." line on my kids.)

Much to my sadness, the cute shop closed. Bloomingdale's stopped calling me (though I think I might still be on staff there, I get employee mailings all the time), and I quit the interactive agency for a much better opportunity — a marketing position at my current place of employment.

Four years and two promotions later, I am still here. I live and work in Minnesota. I am not a high-profile anything. Age 25 has come and gone, and the word glamorous does not describe any part of my existence.

And truthfully, I'm okay with that.

There are days I long for the life I thought I'd have. I wouldn't want to move to NYC now — that was the dream of my 22-year old self, not the person I am today — but it's something I wish I'd experienced. And I would love to work for a fashion magazine, though I fear that environment would only cultivate my jealousy and materialism (things I struggle with now that would surely get worse if I was constantly surrounded by beautiful, skinny women in designer clothes). That is not the path I've chosen (or perhaps the path God chose for me), and that's fine. However, it would be a lot easier to accept the life I have if I felt more inspired by what I'm doing with it.

Unlike many of my friends, I have never wanted to stay home with children (I may change my mind about that once I have children, but it has never been the desire of my heart). My career has always been a defining part of my life. Other than my relationships with God and my husband, it's probably THE defining part of my life. When I am happy and excited at work, everything in my life seems happy and exciting. And when the opposite is true, well....just ask Nate. It's not pleasant. And there have been far too many unpleasant days lately.

I wish I had some answers. Is it better to be responsible — to stay in a career that is somewhat unfulfilling (but good in other ways) just to pay the bills and support the family I hope to have? Or should I try to figure out what really makes me happy, whether it's going back to school or attempting to open a cute little shop of my own? Is it even possible to have a career that makes you really, really happy? Or am I discounting all the good in my life — my family, my faith, my friends — and placing my career on a much-too-high pedestal?

I really don't know.

I'm going to go ahead and eat this macaroon while I mull it over.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

A true story.

I was in the mall today, just minding my own business, and OUT OF NOWHERE a Banana Republic employee jumped me, dragged me inside the store, made me try on a really cute shirt, stole my check card, purchased the really cute shirt with it, forced me to sign the credit card slip, and then handed it to me in a little bag and told me to have a nice day.

What on earth am I going to do with this super cute shirt I was TOTALLY AND COMPLETELY FORCED to purchase?

They'd better hope I don't sue for harassment.

I'm posting the picture below just in case the police need it for their report. Except mine is kelly green, and I so wouldn't wear it tucked in. You know, hypothetically speaking. If I wore it. Which, of course, I wouldn't. Stolen goods and all. But then again, I did technically pay for it...

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Too busy to blog.

Sorry, that's just the way it is lately. It's been one party after the next. Movie premieres, launch parties, hanging on George Clooney's yacht. Tough stuff.

If you're really desperate for updates on my life (as I'm sure you all are), you can follow me on Twitter: abbykbreyer.

I don't update Twitter much more than the blog, but the 140 character limit per post means I am much more likely to post there than here. At least for the time being.

Don't worry, I'll be back with more ridiculously long-winded rantings soon.

Promise. :)

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Donuts: It's best for dinner.

It's like every bad food I've ever loved is coming to get me. First Sonic, now this...

As for the grammatically incorrect title of this post: I have a shirt that says that. So do my friends Heidi, Ali, April and Carrie. We bought them at Old Navy years ago, and I still wear mine. I wish I could post a picture of the five of us wearing our donut shirts, because they are really quite awesome, but that was before digital cameras.

We're so old.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008


Having been a bridesmaid 11 times — and the personal attendant/guest book attendant/greeter in at least five weddings — I have thrown my share of showers. In fact, I would consider myself a bit of a pro when it comes to all the wedding rigmarole. I think I've got it down.

However, when it came time to throw a shower for my sister, I felt a little underprepared.

My attendants threw me what was quite possibly the loveliest shower I've ever been to. It was beautiful and elegant — kind of like a mini-wedding. They set the bar pretty darned high.

Now, Jill's not a fussy person. She's actually pretty casual and laid back about stuff like that. She has a beautiful, well-decorated home, but she's not stuck up or into super fancy stuff. However, I wanted her shower to be just as nice as the one she threw for me.

Unfortunately, she's having an October wedding — and her colors are red and black. Beautiful for a fall wedding, less ideal for a Sunday afternoon shower in the middle of summer. Her bridesmaids and I toyed with the idea of a fall theme, but then Laura suggested a Hawaiian shower in honor of Jill's honeymoon spot. I loved the idea, but insisted that it had to be an elegant Hawaiian theme.

In other words, no plastic luau junk from Party City.

My mom and I got to shopping right away. (Any excuse to buy more serving pieces.) We found beautiful ocean blue glass dishes at HomeGoods, along with a lovely white tablecloth that had a simple blue stripe around it. I bought shells and sand and beach glass, and dainty little paper flowers. My mom found pretty candles with shells in them, as well as these green glass leaf platters and plates. All of which met my rigorous requirements for an elegant shower.

But, inevitably, we started to buy the plastic luau junk. Hawaiian stuff is everywhere in the summer, and we got a little over-excited. I bought bright colored paper napkins. My mom bought paper lanterns and grass skirts. Laura bought leis and drink umbrellas. My mom found a straw cover for the patio umbrella.

And then I kind of freaked out. I knew we needed color — otherwise it would have just been beachy, and not Hawaiian — but could not visualize how we were going to combine these beautiful glass pieces with plastic grass skirts. It was really stressing me out. (That might sound a little dramatic, but that is exactly the type of stuff I get stressed out about. We won't get into my anxiety attack over the possibility of the bridesmaid dresses not exactly matching the table overlays at my wedding.) Thankfully, my mom calmed me down and I became determined to make it work, Tim Gunn-style. Worst case scenario, I wouldn't use any of the plastic stuff.

But I did use the plastic stuff, and it turned out SO CUTE!

It wasn't the fancy shower she threw for me, but it was really pretty and a lot of fun. I hope she was as happy with it as I was.

Now it's on to the next shower — my sister-in-law Mary and I are throwing one for our soon-to-be sister-in-law Callie in a mere three weeks. Let the anxiety begin...

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Go meat!

Have you seen the Hillshire Farms commercial? With the guys who are grilling in their backyards and singing about meat?

If not, it's right here. I love it. Such passion!

Last Thursday night I nearly broke out in meat-inspired song. We had dinner at Fogo de Chao with our friends Craig and Andrea, and it was awesome.

For one thing, we were out with really good friends we never get to see. Craig and Nate are friends from high school. Andrea and I met while working in the dress department at Bloomingdale's. At that time, Andrea's friend Ann was dating Josh, who knew Craig (and therefore Nate). Ann and Josh introduced Andrea to Craig. They started dating. Craig and Andrea introduced me to Nate. We started dating. Ann and Josh broke up. I introduced Josh to my friend Joanna. They started dating.

Craig and Andrea got married. Josh and Joanna got married (and had a baby). Nate and I got married.

Tell me this was not meant to be!

(As for Ann...she's good. She got married, too. I wasn't trying to leave her happy ending out, but their relationship does not fit into my awesome friends setting each other up and marrying friends story.)

Anyway, we love Craig and Andrea. Though we are mad at them for moving to Philadelphia four years ago, and can't wait until they move back (the timing of which varies greatly depending on who you ask).

But, back to the meat.

Andrea first told me about Fogo de Chao a few years ago, after she and Craig went to the one in Philly. So when I heard they were coming into town, we decided to go. When we picked them up Thursday night, Craig made sure to go over the rules of eating at FdC:

1) There is an amazing salad bar. You are going to want to eat a lot of it. Don't.

2) There are amazing sides. They keeping refilling them. You're going to want to eat them. Don't.

In summary: save yourself for the meat. And for once, I actually heeded the advice of someone telling me to eat less food. While the salad bar was quite impressive, I took tiny portions of everything and didn't even fill up my plate. I ate one bite of each side (polenta, plantains, little biscuits and mashed potatoes). And then I flipped my little card from red to green, and the meat parade began.

One after another, the little gaucho men stopped by with their offerings. We had various preparations of lamb, sausage, pork, chicken and beef. It was all delicious, but the bacon-wrapped filet and garlic beef were our favorites. (Dear Fogo de Chao: please create a bacon-wrapped garlic filet. Okay? Thanks!) After a few rounds (there were a couple red card breaks in there...I thought my stomach was going to explode), we all gave up. Except Nate. He went another round — two more bacon-wrapped filets. The guy's got stamina!

We finished the night off with dessert coffees. We physically could not have stuffed another piece of food in our stomachs. And, unlike the meat, dessert isn't served on a stick by a man in funny pants. So, really...why bother?

In fact, I may start requiring Nate to serve dinner in a gaucho outfit.

He'd look good, don't you think?

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Flower update.

I can't believe how much our flowers have grown in one month!

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