Sunday, September 28, 2008

The Happy Festivities

"You don't marry someone you can live with, you marry the person who you cannot live without." - Anonymous

It was a pretty busy weekend, as a couple of our best friends FINALLY got married! They have been together for about 12 years, but planned the entire wedding in just about 2 months. And they pulled it off brilliantly. Friday night - after a whirlwind hair appointment and fighting traffic all the way there - we met them for the rehearsal dinner at this amazing little place in Westwood. It's called The Gardens on Glendon. Very cute decor and delicious food. It was fun seeing their families mesh together and built up the excitement for the big day. We also had a guest come in from out of town that night for the wedding. He stayed with us and we haven't seen him in a couple years so it was good catching up.

On Saturday I volunteered with another girlfriend to help set up flowers at the church before the ceremony. So she and I headed out a couple hours early to get all that done. Hubby had to go early as well to make sure the video camera was set up and ready to go. So we were all busy and running around. I think I hardly saw him at all until the reception! But everything turned out great. The ceremony went off without a hitch and then we hustled over to the restaurant to set up for the reception. Luckily our group of friends is very helpful and accomodating, so we got everything done just in time. Go team!

The reception was a blast. These two definitely know how to throw a party. For their first dance, they even busted out a Latin routine that had us all on our feet. It was so awesome. I felt like I was watching Dancing With The Stars! The rest of the night we all got the groove on and had a lot of fun. Until the sore feet set in, we were all going pretty strong.

The whole day/night was a great success and it was just so momentous to see our dear friends making the move for a lifetime together. I know it means a lot to both of them and of course we wish them all the happiness in the world! Cheers!

Pics: wedding/

Thursday, September 25, 2008

The Cotton Anniversary

Yesterday, Hubby and I celebrated our 2-Year Wedding Anniversary. I had such good intentions to wake up extra early and make him breakfast, but that didn't happen. So all day I worked on painting the master bathroom, trying to have that done before he came home. (One less thing on his Honey Do list.) We decided not to buy each other gifts this year because we wanted to save some money. It was impossible to top last year's gift anyway (the trip to Rome and Paris). So we exchanged romantic cards.

He came home from work a little early and took me out to an awesome dinner at Arnie Morton's Steakhouse. The last time we went there was the night before we left town to get married. It was a lot of fun. We talked about our favorite memories from the last year and made goals for our 3rd year of marriage. Mine was to cook more (got a head start on that one) and take another trip to somewhere we have never been. His was to be less of a work-aholic. He didn't even want to say it out loud, as to not disappoint if it doesn't happen. But they say the first step is admitting you have a problem! Haha. He really does work so hard. And I know he does it as a responsible man who wants to take care of his wife and his future family. How can you not love that? But at this rate, he knows he's going to burn out. And I know he's always trying to find ways to be a better husband. Just when I think he can't get any better!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Kitchen Queries

So I realized yesterday that I have no idea how to cut cauliflower. I didn't come to this conclusion out of nowhere - I was actually trying to make something. (A low-cal snack of baked cauliflower with chili powder, cumin, salt and pepper. Yum.) But I got over the cutting board and was completely lost. Do I cut off that big leaf thing at the bottom? If so, how the heck do I do it? Do I just cut the florets into squares? So confusing. I ended up breaking it all apart with my hands as much as I could, which not only took a really long time but also made quite a mess. So I feel there must be an easier way that I just don't know about!

To anyone who knows me, it may come as a bit of a shock that I was in the kitchen at all. But the past 2 weeks, I have been really good about cooking dinner at home. Before now, I think the last time that I actually cooked a true meal was over 6 months ago. Honestly, I can't really remember. I have just never been good in the kitchen. It's not that I CAN'T cook, I think its just that I'm more of an instant gratification type of person. So the idea of waiting 45 minutes for a meal just blows my mind. And my mom was a great cook, but I was probably baby-sitting or busy with other things when she made dinner, so I never really learned what to do. I can follow a recipe, but there's no way I can just throw together a meal without a very detailed guide. So far, I have come to find that it is NOT cheaper eating in, but it is quite a bit healthier. And the husband is loving it. So I'm going to try and stick with it a bit longer. Wish me luck!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Fling Before the Ring

Our really good friends are getting married this next weekend - so of course, we all had to celebrate their last days as a bachelor and bachelorette. On Saturday, the group went out for an awesome dinner at Maggiano's and ate all the Italian food we could get our hands on. Then we took a bona-fide party bus to Hollywood and danced 'til we dropped. It was so much fun! The party bus was awesome. And I don't even know what club we ended up at, but it was a good one. Good music. Good company. Good times. I'm definitely excited for the wedding and this was a great way to wrap things up before they tie the knot! Love you guys!

Ready to Board the Party Bus

With the Bride and Groom
Everybody Rockin' Out

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Utah! This is the Place

So another weekend of fun has come and gone. My side of the family had our First Annual IFR (Immediate Family Reunion). Basically, since we are so spread out all over the place - Utah, California, Missouri - and there are no weddings or big special occasions coming up, my four other siblings and I decided we just needed to get together. We've been planning it for a couple of months and there were some interesting moments getting the whole thing arranged, but it turned out really great.

On Wednesday, my husband, brother and I drove into Southern Utah. We made pretty good time, only stopping for Starbucks and a potty break. The trip went by surprisingly fast and that was a relief. That evening we all hung out, ate pizza and watched some REALLY old family videos. I broke away from the pack to have a heart to heart talk with my Mom and we cleared up some stinky business that had been lingering for a long time. I'm telling you people, if there's something you want to get off your chest, just do it! It is so much better in the long run. I don't usually have the balls because I don't like hurting people's feelings, but I'm working on speaking my mind more. And luckily with family they HAVE to be understanding. Don't they?

Thursday, we all planned to go to Sand Hallow Lake. It's a really pretty red-rocked lake close to my Mom's house. So after a hearty breakfast of Finnish Pancakes, we gathered up all our inflatable water toys and made our way there. The weather was great and after nearly passing out from all the inflating we had to do, we finally had a chance to hit the water. It seemed warm at first, but the further out you went, the colder it got! After everyone had sufficiently frozen their toes off in the lake/baked their shoulders in the sun/fished to their hearts' content, we left to get ready for a fancy steak dinner. Mom and Stepdad treated us to Wildcat Willie's Steakhouse in Zion. It was sooo good. And we had some fun there. My nephew was so entertaining, I couldn't focus on adult conversation. I just kept laughing at him.

On Friday, we all got an early start and drove out to Bryce Canyon. My stepdad borrowed one of those huge 15 passenger vans so we could all go together so that was a lot of fun. And the canyon is so beautiful. Its really like nothing else you'll ever see. I've been there a few times before, but Hubby was so impressed. He liked the hoo-doo's even more than the Grand Canyon. We got some great pictures and had a blast out there. We were in the car long enough that we were a bit delirious on the ride home, but all the better for some laughs.

That night, we had a little bonfire in Mom's backyard. We talked a lot about our childhood memories and laughed at the fact that we turned out so "normal" despite being around such strange people all the time! Haha. I don't think we went to bed until after 3am that night. But it was so great to spend that time with the family and sort of get reaquainted with everyone after so many years of brief visits and rushed weekends. Truly can't wait for the next one.


Monday, September 8, 2008

From LA to Frisco

So this past weekend was our final Dave Matthews Band show of Summer '08. I only got to see two this year because of the canceled Utah show, but both shows were very memorable so I'm OK with it. Plus, next year I'll be 30 when I attend my 30th DMB show. That's got to be some kind of milestone I think!

On Saturday we left bright and early to drive up to South San Francisco and check into our usual Sheraton hotel. We have stayed there the past few years and the beds are just so darn comfortable, we are afraid to take a chance somewhere else. After getting settled, we headed another 40 minutes to UC Berkeley. The town is so different than I expected. Of course there were hippies - we all expected that - but it was just sort of dumpy. But dumpy in a cool, non-chalant way. I guess it's just a typical college town. I don't know why I thought it would be fancier.

We grabbed a pizza dinner right near the college and then walked over to their Greek Theater. It was a general admission show, so we just sat wherever there was room and as usual got stuck next to some interesting characters. Never fails. I have honestly just come to expect it at this point. But the show itself was fantastic! You could tell the band was just digging the crowd and feeding off all the energy at the theater. It was so fun to watch. And during the show, someone had an airplane fly over the stadium that said "Where you are is where I belong. Will you marry me?" And the band actually played the song with those lyrics (Where Are You Going). Talk about a magical moment for THAT couple. I wonder if she said yes. The band closed with a super rockin' encore and by the end of the show, I was feelin' pretty good.

On Sunday, we wanted to grab a bite before we took the trek home and decided we might as well go into San Francisco. No reason not to take advantage of the fact that we were so close to the city. So we headed over to Pier 39 and along the way got to enjoy the sights. I just love it there. After a huge breakfast/lunch, we headed home. We were all pretty tired by the end of the trip, but I think I speak for everyone when I say that we will look forward to next year. Its one of the traditions that I imagine us keeping for years to come.