Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Dream Trips

We're so lucky and I'm so excited to have so much travel planned this year. However, that doesn't stop me from constantly concocting other dream trips. Here are a few I'd love to take:

1. Hong Kong, Macau, Thailand

I lived in China for a year and traveled frequently to Hong Kong. In my opinion, it's definitely one of the best cities in the world. I'd love to see how it's changed in six years. Macau is like the Vegas of Asia but also very interesting in that it was colonized by Portugal. I've never been to Thailand and I feel like I NEED to get there. I was surprised that round trip flights to Hong Kong were cheaper than some to Europe. And round trip Hong Kong to Bangkok was only $159 last I looked!

Hong Kong via
Macau via
Chiang Mai, Thailand via

Phuket, Thailand via

2. Belize

I hear it is like Mexico 30 years ago when there was less tourism. For being a decent Spanish speaker, I've been to very few Spanish speaking countries.


3. Paris, Amsterdam, Brussels, Germany

This would be a huge trip. I'm hoping one day that I won't teach summer school and that Cody will magically have a large amount of vacation and we could do upwards of a month in Europe. I've been to Amsterdam and Paris, each very briefly and would like to go back, as well as extend the trip to some new destinations.

Paris via
Amsterdam via
Brussels via
This is what they do in Germany, right? ;)
4. Napa Valley

Wouldn't it be an awesome 30th birthday trip?!

5. A Cruise!

I actually lived on a cruise ship when I did Semester at Sea in college. But I've never been on a commercial cruise. I can't believe some of the ships! I don't even really know where I'd want to go, but it seems like kind of an easy ship. You just get on board and they'd take care of most of it from there.


Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Bridal Shower High Tea

On Sunday I threw a bridal shower for my friend Melissa. I use the term 'threw' loosely because, while I technically invited everyone and planned it, the amazing Saint Paul Hotel took care of most of it.

I love this hotel. It is where I stayed with my sister the night before my wedding, got ready on the morning of, and spent the night with Cody on our wedding night. My coworker also threw me a shower there shortly before our wedding. It was absolutely the cutest thing ever, so when Melissa and Ryan got engaged, I knew I needed throw her one as well.

The hotel hosts afternoon high teas several times a month and they book up quickly. I made sure to make a reservation back in December. Our reservation was on a Sunday afternoon from 2-4pm.

There were five courses. (Of course I'm kicking myself for forgetting to take a picture of the 3rd course).

1st- Spicy Egg Salad on Endive, Smoked Salmond and Asparagus Sandwich, and Shrimp and Pancetta on a Rosemary Skewer
2nd- Petite Chicken Pot Pie
3rd (not pictured)- Blue Cheese Scone with Apricot Butter
4th- Cashew Shortbread, Dipped Chocolate Toffee Bar, Mini Carrot Golden Raisin Muffin
5th- Warm Berry Bread Pudding with Creme

They were small courses but we were completely stuffed in the end. There was also Black Currant and Chamomile teas and we order champagne.

I planned a couple little games but we were pretty busy with chatting and fawning over the tea festivities.

I also made gift bags for the ladies. They included a mini bottle of wine with a customized label, a jar of mints, and an Eos lip balm.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Weekend Wrap Up 3/11-3/13


Cody came home and declared that because of the 65 degree weather he wanted a Mai Tai.

Quinn liked it, too.

Then we used a Groupon to get a pizza.

I was about ready to settle into my PJs on the couch but Cody suggested we check out a newly re-opened restaurant and cocktail bar, The Commodore. So I reluctantly got ready and we met my sister and her boyfriend.

I'm so glad he convinced me because it was so cute! The decor was straight out of the 1920's and the cocktails were all delicious.


The weather continued to be amazing so we went on a long walk to get brunch at the Longfellow Grill.

We spent an inordinate amount of time at Target and then went to our friends' house to grill and have a fire.


I threw a bridal shower for my amazing friend Melissa. It was a high tea at a hotel nearby and it was so cute we could hardly stand it. I plan to do a full post about it tomorrow.

Linking up with Meg for Mingle Monday and Biana for Weekending! 

Friday, March 11, 2016

10 Things that Make Me Happy This Week 3/11

I'm linking up with Lindsay and Krysten for the first thing for 10 Things that Make Me Happy. I love the focus on positivity. And also linking up with Liz and Andrea.

-one- It's been between 40 and 65 degrees here all week. In March. In Minnesota. That is completely unheard of. I don't hate winter, but it's been so nice to get out and take three long walks this week.

-two- This graffiti I found down the street from our house on one of my long walks.

-three- We have a day date planned tomorrow. Brunch on a patio and another walk to take advantage of the weather.

-four- Ordering this many beverages at brunch.

-five-  Our colorful dinner last night. I made Paleomg flank steak stir fry. It was pretty good but I think I'd cut down the honey a little bit and add some crushed red pepper to make it less sweet and more spicy.

-six- I'm making the last preparations for my friend's bridal shower on Sunday. A high tea at the St. Paul Hotel. Can't wait to shower her!

-seven- This

-eight- Emailing with our travel agent to start planning our winter break trip!

-nine- Conferences are over! And our principal got us a food truck for dinner during our long night.

-ten- It's Friday!


Friday, March 4, 2016

Closer Than Ever Before

In a heart breaking and infuriating way, I know this story isn't unique. Women everywhere have similar feelings and stories to mine. But I need to start changing my narrative.


I remember being about 9 years old when I was first aware that I might not like my body. I got teased by some boys in my class who poked my arm and laughed as they said, "Look how it jiggles!" I went to my teacher crying and he told the boys, "We never make fun of someone for being fat." He glanced at my face and hastily added on, "Especially when it's not a problem!" I knew what he was thinking, that I really was fat. I grappled with my body image and cried to my mom about it as the doubt crept in. And my body also changed a lot throughout puberty. At 13 my best friend told me I had the perfect body and I knew it was the ultimate compliment. My weight fluctuated throughout high school and I started my first diet at 15. Through watching others, I knew that the positive feedback from losing weight was always desirable. My high school boyfriend once told me that "his friends" said I was fat, whatever the hell he actually meant by that. By the time I was 18, I knew for sure. I was definitely supposed to hate my body and I certainly needed to change it.

During my freshman year of college I experienced the high of exerting extreme control over what I ate and seeing the steady results of doing so. I was fixated on that feeling but despite dropping 35 pounds, my feelings about my appearance never changed. It could always be better and it was always bad.

Not surprisingly, the restriction didn't last and would swing toward binging. With the privacy of living away from home, I could keep any guilt and shame I had around food to myself. I've been enduring 7 years of a pendulum of restriction and falling off the wagon, losing and gaining, and constant self loathing. The only affection I had for myself was in successful restriction and regimentation. But the greatest product of it all was exhaustion. 

I'm so tired. I'm tired of diets. I'm so tired of losing weight. I'm so tired of gaining it back. And I'm just so tired of hating my body. So I'm done. I'm so done. When I wrote out at the beginning that I was 9 years old when this feeling began, I realized that this bullshit has been going on for 19 years. Outside of the relationships with my family, it's been the most consistent and longest term force in my life. What the fuck?

Whole 30 was my last attempt at restriction, even though it was different, in that I didn't count calories. It was another effort in controlling my weight and appearance. Of course, I swung back afterwards. But it taught me a lot about how food made me feel and how I should feel when and after eating. It helped me transition from a focus on calories to a focus on nutrition. While I eat predominantly paleo now, I won't even do a round of Whole 30 again. I'm not going to do another fucking diet. I'm not going to fall off the wagon again because there is no stupid wagon. Maybe I'll gain weight. Maybe not. I'm too tired to care anymore. Maybe it's unhealthy, uncomfortable, and difficult in our to be overweight. But it's also definitely unhealthy, uncomfortable, and extremely difficult to be perpetually self-loathing. 

I know that I need to love myself and it can't be conditional. I'm still not sure how to do that but I'm a hell of a lot closer than I've ever been before.


Thursday, March 3, 2016

What's New: March

READING: Just finished How to Be Single by Liz Tuccillo for my book club. I'm planning to write a review soon.

Our next book is The Japanese Lover by Isabel Allende.

LISTENING: I'm in a CD Club at work. It's about 10 of us and each month we make a mixed CD for the whole group and meet up for happy hour to distribute them. It's a fun way to get a new variety of music every month. Good to Be Alive by Andy Grammer has been my favorite song lately.

WATCHING: The Walking Dead. This is always my number one recommended show for people. It's so much more than a zombie show.


EATING: On Sunday I went for brunch with my friend Abby at Betty Danger's Country Club which is this hilarious restaurant, themed as a Tex Mex Country Club, complete with a mini golf course and a ferris wheel.

Plaid Morning Hash
Morning Margarita

DRINKING: My dad bought tickets for Cody and I to go to Winterfest, a Craft Brewer's Guild event with over 100 breweries. It was an incredible event in a train depot in St. Paul and Cody was practically manic with excitement over all of the beers to try.

Also, my favorite new boxed wine. Bota Box Nighthawk.

WORKING: March is such a ridiculously crazy and busy month at our school. However, memes do make me feel better about it.

Somehow I've found myself on Budget and Facilities committees that meet late into the night. 

Today and tomorrow are also 12 hour days of parent/teacher conferences.

Aaaaaaand to top it all off, it's testing season, which always makes me want to cry a little bit.

ENJOYING: Last Friday we went to a UofM Gopher Hockey game with my sister and her boyfriend. The Gophers won in overtime and my sister ate a bowl of ice cream bigger than her head. Good times.
Yes, we used a selfie stick 


WISHING: Lusting after new cameras but am totally clueless. Recommendations?

PLANNING: A weekend to Duluth this weekend with some friends! It's about 2.5 hours from the Twin Cities on the shore of Lake Superior. We got an AirBnb and we'll visit breweries great restaurants. 

Linking up with Kristen and Gretchen
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