Thursday, February 28, 2013

A cat and his toy: a short story.

I don't have much for you today, but just wanted to share a short photo-story titled,

"a cat, and his toy"


I thought of publishing this draft (that is clearly scraping the bottom of the barrel in terms of content. woops) after we got rid of our living room couch last night.

Oh yea, we bought a new couch this week. Story and photos to come after we get it this weekend (wee!) but the ugly slip covered monstrosity you see in the background is GONE. yes.

Anyway, some people came over to take it last night and lo and behold, underneath it we found ALL of TJ's toys. 3 mouse toys, 2 fuzzy balls, a wine cork (he freaking LOVES them) and oh yes.. because my cat is disgusting, a tampon applicator he fished out of the trash. Color me mortified. I wasn't home and asked M if the people saw it and he said one of them may have.

I have kind of a more thoughtful post that I had every intention of posting this week... but.. it just didn't feel "right".. sooooo better luck next week.


Friday, February 22, 2013

Surprise Florida Trip: The "what" Part 2

We left off Saturday, which was breezy.
Sunday was cold.
Cold is naturally all relative, but for FL it was cold.
We headed to the beach to look for shells in the morning and I snapped some photos.
(waving, hiiiii!)

We then headed to breakfast (uncle was there too, but he was hiding in the car) at the Cove Inn. It's a teeenyy tiny hole in the wall, but has the best pancakes. Or so I'm told, I had an egg sandwich with bacon. (I've been making note of a lot of food the last 2 posts. This is because as of the drafting of this post, I am starving. Duh. 

After breakfast, my aunt, M and I went to Goodwill. 
I hear you laughing, but do some simple deduction here: what is Goodwill comprised of? Discarded clothes from residents in a relatively close proximity (usually) to that particular store. And when the area in "relatively close proximity" to Goodwill happens to be ridiculously affluent neighborhoods, on occasion, you find some pretty good steals. It was my aunt who first turned us onto this gem a year or 2 ago. This year, M got a Ralph Lauren polo and a (seemingly) never worn Banana Republic T-shirt for a total of $12. Last year he got some dockers shorts, a polo, and some brand new FootJoy golf cleats for $20.

That afternoon my aunt and uncle went to some open houses (being a real estate attorney, my uncle likes to keep abreast of the local market.... I'd do it for the sole purpose of snooping through million dollar homes.. se la vie). M and I camped out on the porch and read in the sun. Despite the fact that it was chilly, the sun was warm.

Monday was our last day in Florida, and coincidentally, the warmest.
We started the morning by walking to a breakfast joint I had spotted a different day, where we enjoyed the warmth of the morning sun on the patio. 

After breakfast, we walked down the pier again and enjoyed the lack of gale-force winds.


We walked back to the condo along the beach, grabbed some towels, and headed back for some much needed sun. Well, warm sun, that is. 
Imagine my delight when, after walking to the water to dip my toes in, I turn around and spot M with the camera, snapping away. 
I haven't quite gotten to the point where I feel comfortable thrusting it into his hands and asking him to take "natural" looking photos of myself.. as much as I love those type of photos other bloggers post. I know, I know, I can't get what I don't ask for.. but still, it was nice for him to do it all on his own.

After getting sweaty at the beach, we headed home to rinse off a bit, and then hit 5th for a cocktail and appetizer (notice a theme here?) 
On our walk there M noticed through the breezeway of one of the buildings that there was some type of deck and fountain near a body of water, so we stopped to check it out on our walk back. 

We left the pond and were walking home when M said he wanted to stop down at the beach and just sit on a bench to enjoy the gulf view for the last time. 

I ended up falling asleep for a bit with my head in his lap.. waves gently crashing on the beach always lulls me to sleep. 

We spent the rest of the day hanging out at the condo, and indulging in some of my aunt's ridiculously tasty cooking. She whipped up some fresh egg salad (I have never had it and honestly don't like eggs other than in breakfast-form, and even I wolfed some down) and chop salad with fresh veggies. Maybe it's because she shops at the farmer's market, and everything is obviously fresh in a place where it doesn't usually drop below 30 degrees.. but man. Things just taste better in Florida. 

Aaanndd on that note, TGIF. 
Actually if we're being honest it'd be TFGIF.. you can take a guess what that first "F" is for. 
Nothing like coming back from vacation, getting sick (seriously, who does that?), and then coming back to work on Wednesday to 5 new projects... one of which I was given the Friday I was out, the magnitude of which clearly telling me that the 4 workdays I was in FL/sick were necessary to doing it justice. This translates to working this weekend. Anybody out there a resident expert in hearsay, send em my way. You want to talk about words that start to look and sound fake after staring at them too long? --> HEARSAY. Seriously. 

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Surprise Florida Trip: The "what"

[I'll be honest in saying I don't usually see a point in drawing out vacation posts, but, I have nothing else to blog about this week and after seeing how long this is getting after just sharing photos (hi, DSLR obsessed apparently...) of Friday and Saturday, I'm going to leave Sunday and Monday until tomorrow. Soooorryyy. Mah blog, Mah rules.]

Now that you know HOW I pulled it off, here's what we did!
Just for posterity, and honesty, it was 80 the day before we got to FL and 80 the day after we left. While we were there?
Friday was rainy
Saturday was windy
Sunday was chilly (for FL, that is. Still, 60 is better than a -20 in MN!)
Monday was juuuuustttt right (Goldilocks knew what she was talkin' about). It was 75, sunny, and a light breeze. This was actually the only day we hit the beach. The rest of the days were spent eating (a LOT), walking around, and just overall relaxing. If I'm being transparent, the weather coincidence before/after our trip made me a twee bit stabby, but, nothing I can do about it.

First of all: southern girls. How in the F do you carry on in the humidity without lookin' like a poodle every day of the week? seriously.
Below you can see the fuzz halo starting to form (and this was day 2 hair, just after waking up): 

I quickly abandoned any attempt at styling my hair, and just rocked the natural curls the other days. Which means my frizz-poof turned into this before dinner on Friday night:

It was less hipster than it was practical. Still, you can see a faint fuzz halo. Sigh.
M and I trucked up 5th street to McCabe's in a light rain for lunch.
You can also see my hair beginning to betray me.
(I realize how desperately vain I sound but it's hard (in the loosest sense of the word) to go on vacation to warm climates, want to take lots of photos, and then not feel pretty because you look like a poodle. Wahhh. Whine over.) 

We were pretty low key the rest of the day Friday, what with the rain.
We snuck in a nap, like any good senior citizen on vacation, and then ventured out for pizza with my aunt and uncle.

Saturday we hit 5th Street for "Cars on 5th": a bunch of ridiculously expensive and beautiful cars (Some of which that can be seen driving around Naples at any given moment. The MONEY, people. Oohhh the money in Naples, FL.)

So shiny, and pretty, and expensive.
Speaking of expensive, M and I went to grab a drink and an appetizer by the pier Saturday afternoon.
Apparently in Naples, when you order rather pricey egg rolls, that means 2 long skinny egg rolls. Annndd that's it.
This happened both times we ordered egg rolls and at 2 separate restaurants nonetheless. 

(M loves himself some Sangria. Yum)
We walked down to the pier afterwards, made it halfway, and the wind blew us back to land.

We headed to a Thai/Japanese place for dinner that night, and binged on curry.

(my aunt and uncle..and M)

Up tomorrow: Sunday and Monday.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Surprise Florida Trip: The "how"

We're back!

Let's back up a bit, shall we?
January is a good place to start.
I told M sometime in early January that this year I wanted to make Valentines Day* about HIM. Since my birthday falls on Valentines Day, it's usually all about me. Not by demand, necessarily, it's just the way it's worked out in the past.

I wanted to plan a weekend away, and after looking into alternate destinations (we've been to Naples 3 times, including this trip now) I decided it was more cost effective on such short notice to go back to Naples.
A bonus about going to Naples, and mayyybeee a large reason why we keep going back, is the fact that my aunt and uncle have a condo 3 blocks off the beach. And when I say condo, I really should say a bed and breakfast, because omgosh is it nice. Not to mention any piece of food my aunt touches turns into magic. Seriously.
Here's a peek at our digs:
(heeyyyyy handsome ;) )

Anyway, now that the obvious is out of the way, let's go back to the "how I did it" part.
First, I told M he needed to take a half day the 14th and all day the 15th off work. I told him we had "events" we were doing. I never let on this was a full weekend thing, or even that we were leaving town.

I had asked him twice if he had off President's Day. He said "yeah, I think so" which should've been code for me to dig deeper with someone else, but I took his word for it and bought our plane tickets.
We'd be leaving the 14th at 4 p.m. and coming back late the 18th (President's Day).

I then started to have some doubts as to whether he actually had off President's Day, so I facebooked a coworker of his whom I'd met several times. That's when the bomb came: nope, they did NOT have it off. Lovely. I then took it upon myself to email M's supervisor and see what could be done. I filled him in about my plan and asked if he could help. He replied and said that M only had one meeting scheduled for that day so he'd gone in and blocked off the rest of his calendar for a "strategy summit." He said he'd have to think up some creative lies to tell him as the day got closer because, as he put it, M is an "inquisitive little bugger." :)

The wrenches just kept coming, though.
While at my CLE in late January I got an email from M's sister to M, their dad, and their other sister informing us she'd be back in town and wanted to get together the weekend of the 15th.
I took M off the email and replied, letting them in on the secret as well.
In actuality, it served as a nice distraction. I let M think his dad was staying at our place and we'd be spending the weekend with them, which further confused him about what our plans were. M's dad stays with us often, but, M had no idea that he wouldn't be seeing him. 

In a cosmic act of redemption, I got an email a week or so before we left informing me that their new CEO had given them President's Day off anyway. Oofta, one less thing to worry about!

February 14th rolls around.
I took the day off, so as soon as M left for work I sprang into action. I hustled around and packed BOTH our suitcases (a much more difficult feat than anticipated, since I couldn't find M's rolly bag suitcase..and had to borrow a friend's at the last minute.) I had planned a lunch with friends (the first time I've spent my birthday with friends since my 21st. A sad consequence of having a V-Day B-Day when all the rest of ya'll are busy "not" celebrating* ;-).

I left M explicit instructions to NOT MOVE when he got home. I had set out a change of clothes and told him to sit on the couch and go nowhere else. My fear was, he'd start to discovery missing toiletries, items moved, and become suspiscious. (I found out later he disobeyed my orders and went to grab a jacket to shovel, only to find it gone.. and then took a shower, and wondered where his brush went. Men, sheesh.)

I met up with Molly and Sarah at Salut in St. Paul, and had a delicious birthday lunch. 

I got home from lunch, and tossed our suitcases from my trunk to M's trunk before heading inside. I knew he'd be home from work by then, and I had transferred his clothes into the suitcase I borrowed from Molly in the Salut parking lot.

I went inside and found M in the living room, along with a dozen roses (that would later get shoved in a closet to die because the cat eats EVERYTHING and M had no idea we weren't returning for 5 days). He'd also framed and matted my law school diploma, which I thought was very sweet. Lastly, in his card, he told me we'd be going to Dock 86 Monday to pick out a new couch for our living room! Once again, poor guy had no idea that wouldn't be happening either. At least not Monday!

I told him it was time to go, but we needed to stop for gas first, and that I'd tell him at the gas station (I wanted to film it and either he or I needed to actually drive to the that's how it went down.) Here's the video, which I absolutely adore: 

He was SO funny the whole drive there, asking dozens of questions, and repeating "This is nuts. This is insane. I can't believe it." over and over again. Haha.

I had worked it out with his sister, who was flying into the airport Thursday night a few hours after we left, to leave M's car in short term parking so that she could pick it up and drive back to our place to watch TJ for the weekend. It all went so flawlessly (well, except for the part where she couldn't find where we'd left the spare key with the car, but thankfully she'd only been looking for about 10 minutes by the time we landed and got cell service again), and we were on our way to Florida!

Tomorrow I'll post the actual vacation recap, since this is already obscenely long. Totally unrelated, but I appear to have come down with some kind of head cold. My body clearly saw the weather back home and said "nuh uh, that ish ain't happenin" and gone on strike. Mer. 

*[For all of you reading who think Valentine's Day is dumb, or refer to it as a Hallmark Holiday, or brag about how you 'don't get into V-Day' and were all super low key about how you celebrated (you STILL celebrated it): I'm onto you. Also, if V-Day is so fabricated, what exactly is the point of St. Patrick's Day. Hmmm? And the refrain of 'I show my significant other love every day!' (insert googly eyes) makes me yawn. Where's the chorus on Mother's Day? Father's Day? Thanksgiving? ALSO things you can do year round. derka der. (drops mic.) Don't get me wrong, if celebrating it isn't your jam, fine. What irks me are those who go so far out of their way to make it known.]

Thursday, February 14, 2013


Today's the day!
By the time you are reading this, M and I will be safely en route to our Valentine's destination. 

Oh yes, we're hoppin' on an airplane. 
In fact, we're probably 30,000 feet above you at this VERY MOMENT. 

Where are we going, you want to know? 
Here's a little clue: 

Did you figure it out? 

 Okay, okay, I'll tell you: 

That's right!

Stay tuned for a full recap Tuesday or Wednesday. :)

Monday, February 11, 2013

Wedding Upates and Snowmageddon Round 2: A Weekend Recap

Monday, we meet again. 
Actually from where I type this (Sunday) I'm secretly hoping for an adult snow day. It's been coming down pretty substantially all day, foiling plans we had to go to my parents' house for an early birthday dinner for moi. Wah. 

This weekend was pretty nondescript, although we did knock a few wedding related items off the checklist!

Let's back up, Friday night we went to a dive bar over by the U of M for one of M's friends' birthday. We ate wings, I drank sprite, I snuggled on our friend's baby (you have a babyyyyy! in a barrrr!? anyone?) and then safely carted home le tipsy, M. I took no photos.

Saturday we woke up, drank our coffee, and then set out to get M's dudes taken care of in the way of suits. Since (apparently, I know nothing of men's fashion costs) renting a tux costs about as much as buying a nice suit these days, M is opting to have the guys buy a suit. That way, when all is said and done, at least they get to walk away with a nice new suit! 

This is what he settled on:

It looks a bit grey in the picture but rest assured, it's black.
We're going through Men's Warehouse, and the style is Pronto Uomo. They offer bridal parties 50% off, so, he's getting a pretty nice suit for half the cost. Also, he's going to chip in for some of the cost for the guys as his gift to them.

We're going to be pairing the suits with white shirts and black ties.
We've been discussing the possibility of M having some kind of subtly distinctive tie.
We're also going to slap in a crisp white pocket square to class up the whole look. 

Next, we stopped by Shane Co. to get his finger sized for a ring.
There was a brief moment of panic, and copious amounts of lotion, when M's finger got stuck on the 1/4 size too small sizing ring... but we all pulled through.
After delivering an artfully crafted alibi about how we were going to use the aforementioned ring sizing adventure to then shop their collection online, we scooted home and hopped on Etsy.

Now, before you find me to be the tackiest or cheapest bride on the planet, here's my theory:
If a ring doesn't have diamonds on it, if it isn't meant to be the showy one-- as is the case with MOST men's rings.. why should a hunk of metal that I can get for $40 on the interwebz cost $300 at a jeweler?

Eeexacttlllyyy. I just spit the truth, folks.

So, this is what we went with:

Pretty, no!?
Clean, manly, simple. Just the way M wanted it.
Also, when he inevitably loses it (I'm not stereotyping, M loses a rotation of his cell phone, wallet and/or keys on a consistent basis) I won't have a coronary because it only cost us $35. Holla.

Saturday night I crafted --finally finishing the wine cork table number stands, and made a few smaller burlap flowers for the smaller wine bottle.
I fell asleep in the 3rd period of the Gophers/Huskies hockey game, hauled myself to bed, and then proceeded to battle a wicked bout of insomnia until about midnight. Woops.

Sunday M and I battled the early snowmageddon, round 2 to head to Perkins for breakfast.
My first choice? No.
I would have preferred a quaint little cafe for devouring some quiche, but due to the weather, M placed an arbitrary mile circumference on our jaunt. Lame. So, Perkins it was.

M knew it wasn't my first choice, so when our breakfast experienced slowly descended into a slapstick comedy, he could do nothing but laugh. From the screaming children to our prime seating location:


It was very romantical. :P 
At least my vantage point was the women's and not the men's. I do not take my coffee with a side of urinal, generally speaking. 

After realizing the trek to my parents house was not in the cards, we settled in for a long afternoon of lounging.

Presently, I'm starving, we have no food that sounds appetizing and I'm REALLY not trying to be "that girl" who calls the pizza place and makes them deliver. Contemplating a snowy trek to the Papa John's a few blocks away.

[Edited to add: at 3:56 p.m. today (Sunday) we decided to see a 4:20 showing (matinee, holla!) of Side Effects. I am embarrassed to admit mostly I said yes because I knew it meant I got food... BUT the movie was good!]

This week is going to be pretty hectic...
Monday night we have my birthday dinner with M's mom.
Tuesday night we are having one of M's friends and his girlfriend over for dinner.
Wednesday night is the day we rescheduled today's failed birthday dinner with my family.
Thursday and Friday are TOP SECRET. but I do have a post scheduled for late Thursday night that will reveal the surprise, soooo stay tuned for that.

If you do not hear from me this week, it's either a result of the aforementioned scheduling... OR I've been swallowed up in a massive snow drift en route to find pizza and will not be found until late April.