Insert Classy Here - Gratitude

Today, I am planning ahead and linking up with Steph @ Insert Classy Here for Gratitude Wednesdays.

I thought a lot about what specifically I am grateful for and I kept coming back to friends. The real kind. Not the Facebook ones or the ones who are more like "acquaintances" who you squinty eye smile at when you seen them out and about.

I am thankful right now for the REAL friends and once I started really thinking about it, I realize I have different types of real friends and I am thankful for each and every one of them.

You know that saying "A good friend will bail you out of jail but a best friend will be right there next to you saying "that was AWEsome!"
I have that friend.

And by friend, I am talking about the beautiful blonde girl on the left, not the two in the bottles, but those have been pretty legit pals too. Morgan is literally the friend that was sitting next to me at the jail one night when we went "looking at Christmas" lights with a couple of dudes we'd never met before while we were in college. We started in the city and ended up 70 miles southeast in a small town, where we promptly got pulled over and taken to the clink. We convinced the officers (how, in our drunken state, I have no idea) that we were with these guys who we'd never met, we were scared and totally innocent (even though we were in fact underage). The cops bought us a hotel room for the night and kept the dudes in jail. 

I'm not even ashamed, that is still one of the funnest stories I ever get to tell. (there's more to it, naturally but my grandma reads this.) And Morgan was there for it all and then some. She's just THAT friend, you know? 

The Anytimers: The friends that you can go days, months without talking to but can still randomly email with an off the wall comment or shameful observation about someone you went to high school with. Case in point, my BFF, Steph. (The bride I have been going on about for a couple posts)I can't count on two hands the number of random emails we've sent each other that went something like this

"Did you see ____ ____ (insert name here) got married?! Did he even date in high school? His wife has to be someone who did NOT know him in high school!"

" Kill me now. There's an intern at work who doesn't know what  CLUELESS is. When did we get so old?!"

And even if it's been a couple of weeks, we just pick up right where we left off and it's awesome sauce. Both Morgan and Steph fall under another category of Old Friends, which you really can't beat because they know EVERYTHING and still find room to love you. - We'll be best friends forever because you already know too much. 
And thankfully, I have this next group to be grateful for:

Bloggy friends. Or, bliends if you will. 
I can't tell you the amount of healing that has been done thanks to gchat, twitter and blog comments from the wonderful women I have met since diving into the blog world last year. 

They've laughed at my kid's craziness with me, celebrated my milestones with me and I can't tell you how many times I've read and reread the comments on the posts where I needed all the support they were so generous to give me. 

There are too many amazing girls to list, but you know who you are and I love your faces. And to those who  I haven't randomly gchatted with, hit me up. I promise it will be fun. 

I've even been lucky enough to meet some of them, like Mallory and Brin. Best blates ever. Oh and let's not forget the Gchat vlates. I can't even. Mal and Jess, let's make this happen again and soon mkay? Do I need to remind you that I flirted with the kid two apartments down so he'd give me his wifi password JUST so we could vlate!? 

Yes, that's me in the left corner, vogue-ing. Or something. 

And then there are the FO REAL friends. These friends just happen to be alot of my awesome family members as well, which, lucky for me, means they basically HAVE to like me. But fo real, I don't know what I would do without my sister, mom, aunts and grandmas who have stood by me no matter what. They may say they don't love my decisions or agree with the direction I chose, but they still love me. And for that, I am grateful.   I have my family and I have friends who love me so much that they just randomly text me to check in, or show up at my door with wine, invite me over for Apples to Apples, or just have me and the kids over for mac and cheese and The Little Mermaid. Oh and the ones who go for late ice cream runs with me, encourage me to keep up the running, randomly wash my dishes and pay for my fountain Diet Pepsi before I get a chance to, I don't know what I would do without you. 

You see, there's this thing called unconditional friendship. Unconditional love.
And that's what really matters the most. 

So there you have it. My long winded list of gratitudes. ( I love making up new words, just go with it).
In short, I am so thankful for my friends. You keep me up, you keep me real and you keep me smiling. 

You know who you are. High Five. :) 

And for my unfriends who have dropped me like a hot potato for reasons I can totally understand (but don't entirely agree with), let me just say this.
I love you even though you judge people without walking a mile in their shoes. I love you even though you have two faces and I love you despite your short comings. I love you because that's what friends do. But what I won't do is still be friends with you on Facebook and act like I want you to see what I am up to. And I definitely won't pretend that I think it's hysterical that you won't speak to me "IRL" but you have no probs stalking my blog. How cute, winky face. 

Ok that was mean girl of me. But I just had to! 

Now upward and onward friends, it is Hump Day after all! I'll be celebrating by doing laundry in my new washer and dryer! Booyah! #itsthelittlethings

Holy Weekend Shenannies

Bringing you Monday's Weekend Shenannies with the one and only Sami face. Because the only thing better than having a great weekend is getting to photo dump it!
Surprisingly I am in a great mood for early on a Monday morning.
It's probably because it's no more than 60 degrees outside, it's raining and I slept with the windows open in the apartment last night. So peaceful! 

Ok, so on with what kept us busy this weekend: 

Sami's Shenanigans

Remember Friday when I complained about not wanting to do all the manly jobs around the house? Well, I found my solution! Why stress about car stuff when you have the world's greatest grandpa who gladly will do it for you? Seriously though, just in case anyone wants to have a competition, I have the best grandpa in the world. 

Then the kids went swimming and played with their cousins. My little sister spent the night with us, we had a carpet picnic ala McDonald's, watched Twilight and then called it a night. Now that's what I call a Friday!

Saturday, we hoped in the car and headed to my mom's house to see Miss Lucy Wynn! The kids hadn't met her yet and were so excited! All R2 cared about was getting to change her diaper! 

It was love at first sight for the kids. They had so many questions and were so happy to hold her. 

My grandma Terry and Aunt Aimee came for the day too! It was so wonderful to just lounge around, take turns holding the baby, telling funny stories and being together. It's not often when we can all get together and have nothing on the agenda but just relaxing and loving on the kiddos. It was so great to watch my sister and bro-in-law be parents. They are so peaceful and happy to be mommy and daddy and I am so proud of them! They are pros! 

During Lucy's naps, and later on in the day, we decided to put our party hats on. I got the kids some cheap air guns and R1 immediately went on the hunt for some targets. Naturally, he found beer and pop cans pretty quickly and sat up a shooting range in the back yard. Cheap entertainment! Then my mom did what she does best and provided a margarita & pina colada bar and things got funny.

 I mean, does your grandma bring a hoola hoop to parties and spend the rest of the night kicking everyone else's ass in hula'ing? (That's not a real word but if you saw my grandma shake her hips like I did, you'd understand why I just had to invent it.)  It's a good thing we got it on video for you to enjoy! :) 

Oh! And  my mom set my Aunt Aimee (second picture on the top left) up on a blind date and he was c.u.t.e! They hit it off and by the end of the night, it was clear we'd probably see him at Christmas. (Or maybe that was the margaritas, but still, I think he's a keeper!) 

Funny story ala R2: We were playing dolls on Saturday night. She likes to play "daycare" where she packs a diaper bag and drops her baby doll off with me, the daycare worker. Then she gets in her car and tells me how much she misses her baby. She hands me the baby doll and asks "Who's my baby's daddy?" And I told her he could be anyone she wanted as long as he had money. (I was obvs kidding kind of, but I didn't think it was time for the "pick your soul mate" talk just yet). She promptly replied, 

"But I have my OWN money!" 

That's my girl!! :) 

Oh! AND my sister took some family photos for us! 

And because I love the bloggy world so much, I decided to do a couple "blog inspired" pics. I needed a new "Welcome!" pic for my side bar and then decided to play around a little bit. I just had an urge to do a little "fashion blogger" pose and let me tell you, I felt like a dork! And I in no means try to pass off as a fashion blogger but they always look so damn cute and happy, so I decided to try it out! I felt like a complete dork but R1 was off to the side making me laugh with funny faces so it helped! 

So there you have it! 

Sunday was spent driving home, cleaning, hanging out at the pool and then lounging around! 

This week, there's not much going on at all! 
I hope to get lots of reading done, some book reviews finished up and enjoying this strange, cool weather we are having! 

Happy Monday friends! 

When The Honey On Your Honey Do List Is You

First, before you read this, mosey on over to my girl's post here. Allie has a great point. Why is it so great to have a man around the house? Because they can do all the domestic crap around the house that's a pain in the butt. Especially Allie's smoking alarm. It reminded me of the closet light bulb that is burnt out in the kids' room. It's got a cover over the light that's screwed in tighter than Fort Knox. Get a screw driver, chair and light bulb to replace it?

So, here, thanks to Allie Baby, is my list of things that have become a bigger pain in the ass since I started living sans man in the house.

(The things that have actually gotten better because THERE ISN'T one, is a whole other post...winky face)

Car Maintenance: The screen is telling me to add washer fluid. I Googled "women's guide to pouring washing fluid" and guess what? Even Google can tell I'm a moron. It asked me "Did you mean "PUT in washer fluid?" which just proves that Google is a passive aggressive male.

But here's a great little article to teach me all the car things I don't care to know:

Get To Know Your Car’s Fluids: To perform proper car maintenance, you must also be familiar with the different fluids that your vehicle needs. There are six main fluids which you must check and maintain according to manufacturer’s scheduled maintenance:

Brake Fluid: This fluid will deteriorate and get contaminated over time due to moisture. With that in mind, it must be flushed during brake servicing.
Engine Oil: Your car’s oil must be changed once at least every three months or every 3,000 miles. You can change the oil on your own but it is preferable to bring your vehicle to your local auto repair shop.
Engine Coolant/Antifreeze: This fluid must be changed according to your owner’s manual.
Washer Fluid: You can use a commercial windshield washer solvent for this.
Power Steering Fluid: Once your car is low on power steering fluid, you won’t be able to use the power steering feature. This fluid does not have a scheduled maintenance.
Transmission Fluid: Most manufacturers recommend changing this fluid every 15,000 miles.

Grilling: Call me sexist, but I love a man who can grill. I've tried it a couple times and why does food just taste better when someone else cooks it? Maybe it's because I hate raw meat and when I don't have to cook it, I can just believe it's always looked as good as it does when it's cooked. I have a little grill now and I love it but honestly, I just don't have the attention span for it. There's no timer. How I am supposed to remember to go check on it??

Changing light bulbs: I swear, for some reason I'd rather just be in the dark. It's a hassle. I can't explain why. Plus, I like candles and everything looks prettier in candlelight anyway. Or maybe I am lazy. Maybe.

OK, so enough with this "I don't have a honey to do the honey do list" fest. I can do all of these things, I know! Bring on the whatever that liquid is that propels the wind shield wipers. I can do this!

Just call me the next Earnhardt.

Spiders: Mostly because men have bigger feet and bigger feet mean bigger shoes as weapons, it's nice to have a man around to squish those things. Because, ew. But all I have to do is remind myself: as long as it is not black with a red diamond thing on its back or light brown, I am probably safe. Plus, I have a 5 year old boy who weighs 70 lbs. So, basically, he can take care of the varmints and bugs for me.

Dealing with salesman: I never have the guts to tell the vacuum salesmen or the carpet cleaner demonstrators to just beat it. I must have that "I'll believe anything" look on my face and always seriously consider letting them in and giving them millions of dollars. Men can just look them in the eye and said in a dead pan voice "Sorry, we don't believe in vacuums" or some random excuse. If I ever saw a salesmen at the door, I'd have the man go scare them off. These days, I just hit the floor and stay quiet until they leave. Unless it's Girl Scouts. Then get the hell out of my way, there's thin mints to devour.

Manly things the kids are interested in: "Mom, what is radio active?" "Hey, look at the size of this booger!" And "Dude, I just farted and burped at the same time, that's a double whammy!" Have you met my son, the 5 year old with the inner 23 year old personality? Yeah, I'd rather have a second man child laying around to deal with those gross things!

But before I go, let me just say this. If there is a man out there who can do all of these things, while wining and dining me and making me feel special with no strings attached, I will gladly consider his application. Ryan Goseling look a-likes need not apply. (Because there'd be no interview needed, duh.)

And speaking of ALLIE BABY, she and her sponsors (including yours truely) are giving away $100 bucks! You're welcome! :)

a Rafflecopter giveaway v

Book Round Up!

I am super intrigued by this book. What DOES happen when the women who are disappearing are prostitutes and can we honestly deny the fact that their lifestyles didn't effect the way their murders were prioritized? 

From Good Reads: Award-winning investigative reporter Robert Kolker delivers a haunting and humanizing account of the true-life search for a serial killer still at large on Long Island, in a compelling tale of unsolved murder and Internet prostitution.

One late spring evening in 2010, Shannan Gilbert, after running through the oceanfront community of Oak Beach screaming for her life, went missing. No one who had heard of her disappearance thought much about what had happened to the twenty-four-year-old: she was a Craigslist prostitute who had been fleeing a scene—of what, no one could be sure. The Suffolk County Police, too, seemed to have paid little attention—until seven months later, when an unexpected discovery in a bramble alongside a nearby highway turned up four bodies, all evenly spaced, all wrapped in burlap. But none of them Shannan's.

There was Maureen Brainard-Barnes, last seen at Penn Station in Manhattan three years earlier, and Melissa Barthelemy, last seen in the Bronx in 2009. There was Megan Waterman, last seen leaving a hotel in Hauppauge, Long Island, just a month after Shannan's disappearance in 2010, and Amber Lynn Costello, last seen leaving a house in West Babylon a few months later that same year. Like Shannan, all four women were petite and in their twenties, they all came from out of town to work as escorts, and they all advertised on Craigslist and its competitor, Backpage.

In a triumph of reporting—and in a riveting narrative—Robert Kolker presents the first detailed look at the shadow world of escorts in the Internet age, where making a living is easier than ever and the dangers remain all too real. He has talked exhaustively with the friends and family of each woman to reveal the three-dimensional truths about their lives, the struggling towns they came from, and the dreams they chased. And he has gained unique access to the Oak Beach neighborhood that has found itself the focus of national media scrutiny—where the police have flailed, the body count has risen, and the neighbors have begun pointing fingers at one another. There, in a remote community, out of sight of the beaches and marinas scattered along the South Shore barrier islands, the women's stories come together in death and dark mystery. Lost Girls is a portrait not just of five women, but of unsolved murder in an idyllic part of America, of the underside of the Internet, and of the secrets we keep without admitting to ourselves that we keep them

I clicked on this because the cover looked amazing... and once I read the description, I knew I had to check it out! 

From Goodreads: A high-powered Manhattan attorney finds love, purpose, and the promise of a simpler life in her grandmother's hometown. 
Ellen Branford is going to fulfill her grandmother's dying wish--to find the hometown boy she once loved, and give him her last letter. Ellen leaves Manhattan and her Kennedy-esque fiance for Beacon, Maine. What should be a one-day trip is quickly complicated when she almost drowns in the chilly bay and is saved by a local carpenter. The rescue turns Ellen into something of a local celebrity, which may or may not help her unravel the past her grandmother labored to keep hidden. As she learns about her grandmother and herself, it becomes clear that a 24-hour visit to Beacon may never be enough. THE IRRESISTIBLE BLUEBERRY BAKESHOP & CAFE is a warm and delicious debut about the power of a simpler life...

And ok, while I was searching for this other book I wanted to add, I came across the CATCHING FIRE trailer, which comes out this fall. Can you say, GOOSEBUMPS? 

And then after watching the trailer I got distracted, naturally, and forgot what book I was looking for! 

OH OH I Just remembered!!!! Don't you just love when that happens?!)

Life After Life by Kate Atkinson-over 14,000 people have reviewed this book and given it over 4 stars on! 

From GoodReads: On a cold and snowy night in 1910, Ursula Todd is born, the third child of a wealthy English banker and his wife. Sadly, she dies before she can draw her first breath. On that same cold and snowy night, Ursula Todd is born, lets out a lusty wail, and embarks upon a life that will be, to say the least, unusual. For as she grows, she also dies, repeatedly, in any number of ways. Clearly history (and Kate Atkinson) have plans for her: In Ursula rests nothing less than the fate of civilization.

Wildly inventive, darkly comic, startlingly poignant — this is Kate Atkinson at her absolute best, playing with time and history, telling a story that is breathtaking for both its audacity and its endless satisfactions.

So there you have it! Get reading! 
Sounds like alot of you are reading some pretty awesome books, according to Twitter! Keep it up! :) 

Wedding Blitz

Gosh, I don't even know how to start this post! I think I will just photo dump and randomly tell you about moments that stick out in my memory this most. 

First, my favorite part was getting to spend the entire weekend with my favorite people and oldest friends.

Left: The beautiful bride, Stephanie. Her dress? Perfection! It was so beautiful and unique! 
Right: Morgan, aka the girl who has known me since 4th grade and still puts up with me. (God love her)

 The magic of make up :) 

There was more champagne and hair spray in the bridal suite than an episode of KUWTK! 

Rehearsal Dinner Bling: 

 Here's a view of where the ceremony was held from my hotel room: 

Rehearsal Dinner: After 10:00 p.m. gets a little hazy but there was definitely a stop at a bar called "Eat The Worm" on the way back to the hotel from dinner. Good thing I took pictures. 

And then the actual wedding and reception. Pure perfection. Stephanie's cheeks should be aching today thanks to all the smiles and laughter! She had a blast and my calves are still sore from all the dancing! 

I will go on the record and say I got paired with the best groomsman in the bunch. Did we use my bouquet as a football when we got introduced into the reception? You bet we did! Did he hike it to me and then catch the perfect hydrangea spiral throw? You know it! #weddingpartywin

Oh! Stephanie asked me to do an impromptu speech. My heart skipped a thousand beats. Mostly because I was nervous. Who am I kidding. Mostly, because I had secretly been hoping she would ask! I had a speech idea in my head for MONTHS! Thankfully,  I got some advice from my girl Taylor! 

So, I have the speech on video. If I get enough guts and am feeling like I want to be embarrassed, I may entertain you by posting it. Maybe. 

Had to share this this random chick decided to take a selfie on my phone:

So there you have it friends! A weekend for the books. I'll be talking about it for quite a while! 

As always, this weekend wrap up is brought to you by the wonderful: 

Sami's Shenanigans

To Be A Bridesmaid

This weekend I am celebrating the nuptials of my BFF Steph

We sent her off the right away with Nighties for her Naughties at her bachlorette party a couple weeks ago and the email she just sent with our agenda for her wedding weekend REALLY got me excited! 

What's even better is that the tri-feca will be complete when our beauty Morgan flies in from Washington to join us. This weekend will make our wedding circuit complete. 

Bring on the mimosas, updo's and prayers not to fall down the steps on the way down the aisle.

That last one might just be me, which I will be praying double for.

I COULD just lay off the mimosas and champagne before the wedding to lessen my chances of falling on my face but where' the fun in that? 

Here's what I need for the weekend to be a success: 

1. Mini bottles of booze to fit in my clutch

2. A theme for an impromptu speech if the moment presents itself

3.  Some of my kick ass dance moves from our high school prom days 

4. Single Groomsmen

4a. Only kidding! Kind of. 

5. A happy bride, a fun wedding party and a dress I won't trip over.

If I do my part, Steph will be doing this by the time she says "I Do."

Anyhooters, guys, not to sound cliche, but this weekend is going to be epic. Unless the spray tan doesn't go as planned. In which case, I'll be the oompa loopa at the cake table. 

I apologize in advance for the photos I intend to share because for some reason, I like to make this face when I have a chiffon dress on and am carrying a bouquet. 

Dollar Dance, anyone?