Monday, November 29, 2010

Thanksgiving Amazingness

This past weekend was pretty incredible. I got to see so many family members and amazing friends, a lot of whom I haven't seen in a long time. I love that the holidays bring all my out of town friends back to town.

On Wednesday after work, J and I went to the Timberwolves game. It was another great game, even though we lost. But, we were leading most of the game and J and I had a great time.
After the game we went across the street to Kieran's Pub to meet up with some of my friends who were in town. My friend Nick is a college friend of mine who was in town from New York. These are the guys I spent most of my time in college with and it was great to have the old gang together again.
Two of my best friends from high school were also in town. My friend Steve is in med school in Philly and my friend Pat just recently moved to Washington DC. I have been friends with these boys since seventh grade and I love that we have maintained our friendships and are able to see each other after a long period of time and pick up right where we left off.
It was IMPOSSIBLE for the three of us to take a normal picture, so this is the best we got.

Thanksgiving, as usual, was a day of running around trying to see as much family as possible. We started the day at my mom and step-dad's house for some bloody marys and snacks. 
Me and my little brother, Nate

My mom, Natie and myself

My sister, Natalie

My man

From there we went to my dad's house to eat. 
 my dad's amazing turkey on the grill.

We played a game of Apples to Apples, argued over which Leonardo DiCaprio movie is the best and attempted to get a picture for our family Christmas card, a task that is always extremely difficult and extremely hilarious. 
Ditch the crazy dogs and we get a good one.

My little family.

After we ate we went to J's Aunt and Uncles house to see his side of the family and have dessert. J's dad's side of the family is enormous so it's always so fun to see everyone and be apart of a huge family. This year's clan was smaller than usual but it was still wonderful. We celebrated all we are thankful for with a shot of Patron XO Cafe, a coffee flavored tequila which was surprisingly AMAZING!
Me and J with his Uncle's Jay and Brent

We ended Thanksgiving at home. J built a fire and we curled up on the couch to watch Texas A&M beat Texas!!! It was the perfect end to a great day.

Friday night one of my high school friend's, Reed, had a group of us over to his place. Again, these are friends I have had since middle school and it was amazing to spend some time with them. My friend, Alex, was in town from Chicago and was celebrating his birthday so it was  wonderful to see him! I took a couple of great pictures from that night but our laptop (where I upload all photos) has a virus (HUGE PAIN IN THE ASS) so I don't have those to share with you, but just know it was a great night.

On Saturday, my dear friend Ryan got married! I'll have all the pictures and details from his big day tomorrow!

Finally, we ended our epic four days by sleeping in, cleaning the house and then going to my BB's for chili and Dexter. None of us had ever seen the show but have heard great things so Jake and Carolyn got the first season and DVD and we all watched the first disc together. I'm already hooked, it took a while to get used to the awkwardness that is Dexter but now I am really excited to watch more and get caught up on this great show. 

Friday, November 26, 2010

Now It Can Start

One of my biggest pet peeves in the entire world is that Christmas now starts before Halloween! Stores put out Christmas stuff and radios play Christmas songs so early that by the time Christmas actually comes I am so sick of it I just want it to be over! I like to get through Thanksgiving before I start decking the halls. Now that Thanksgiving has come and gone it's time to get  in to Christmas mode!

It's time to start watching my favorite Christmas movies....

Home Alone

The Santa Clause

And Miracle on 34th Street
The new one...
...and the old one

My birthday is just 13 days before Christmas, so it's about time for me to put together my Birthday/Christmas list. It's really short this year....

I want the Barnes & Noble Nook. I've been wanting to buy this for myself for months! 

I spend 98% of my money at Target, so a gift card would be extremely helpful. 

The main thing I want this year is cash money for the Wedding/Honeymoon fund! 

Finally,  I would really appreciate this marvelous pair of Christian Louboutin shoes for my wedding. Thanks.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Turkey Day!

Happy Thanksgiving all you wonderful blog friends! I hope you all have a safe and happy holiday!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Wedding Wednesday: Beauty Regimen

Like every bride I want to look as best as I possibly can on my wedding day. There's a couple of things I want to work on improving before the big skin, my body and my hair. A couple of weeks ago I had a routine brow wax scheduled and decided to ask about skin care. I'll be honest, I don't take care of my skin. I don't wash my make up off at night, I only wash my face in the shower, I use a facial moisturizer but I bought the cheapest one I could find, I certainly don't exfoliate any part of me and I tan. Shannon has been waxing my eyebrows for the past 2 years and she is now the only person I trust with my face. I was able to schedule some extra time with her so that she could give me a skin analysis and put me on a long term routine to give me perfect skin for the wedding day and beyond.

First, Shannon determined I have dry skin meaning I experience very minimal t-zone oil, my skin sometimes feels tight and dehydrated, I have visible pores on and around my nose, my skin is thin and textured. Next, Shannon gave me a crash course on skin....the epidermal layer, what causes pimples, free radicals and all that good stuff. Then she educated me in the Big Four of Skin Care....Cleanse, Moisturize, Tone and Exfoliate. This is stuff I've learned before when I worked for salons but I've never worried about it for my own skin.

If you don't follow the Big Four with you skin, here's a closer look at each step.

What it does: helps with all of the facial dangers (make up, shaving, etc) primarily by clearing away the dirt, grime and dead cells, thus facilitating the production and easy travels of new skin cells 
How to use it: Apply to wet skin, and massage over face. Rinse.Wash your face every morning and night, and never go to sleep in your makeup. It can contribute to clogged pores and breakouts.

What it does: restores the skin to its natural pH level and removes any traces of cleanser left behind. The skin will accept moisturizer more readily and easily if it's prepared with a toner first. All skin types can benefit from the use of a good alcohol-free toner.
How to use it: After cleansing, close eyes and spritz all over the face, neck and v-area. Gently massage into skin leaving it slightly moist. Immediately apply the next product. 

What it does: Skin constantly loses natural moisturizing factors due to environmental aggressors — sun, wind, and dry airs (hot and cold). Skin will also experience a decrease in oil production levels with age. To maintain soft, smooth and supple skin, we need to replenish this moisture loss.
How to use it: Apply to entire face and neck day and night.

What it does: Gently removes dulling dead cells, unclogs pores, brightens skin, smoothes out fine lines and stimulates skin's natural renewal process
How to use it: As a scrub--apply to moist skin and gently massage. Rinse off with water. As a mask and scrub--apply to clean skin and let dry. Wet fingertips and massage gently to soften mask and exfoliate skin. Rinse off with water avoiding eyes. Use up to 3 times a week.

The salon I go to uses Bioelements products, so Shannon loaded me up with everything I need to get my skin in to shape.
Moisture Positive Cleanser

 Crucial Moisture Moisturizer
 Power Peptide Toner
And Measured Micrograins Exfoliater
I've been using these products in the morning and before I go to bed for 2 weeks and I can honestly say I can see a difference! My skin just looks healthier and feels cleaner. I have a couple little red spots and possible break out locations which Shannon said is normal because my skin is getting used to actually being healthy and it's cleaning out all the gunk that I have been letting build up. 

Shannon also recommends getting a facial once a month, wouldn't that be nice! Who has the money to get a facial every month? I sure as heck don't! BUT, Shannon offers a deal for her regular customers where if you buy three facials upfront you get a fourth for free...perfect! So I scheduled a little birthday treat for myself in December and I'll get my first in a series of facials. I figure after that I will go every other month, which with my four facials brings me to June. Then I'll buy four more and do one each month before the wedding! Any family members reading this....I go to Snips SalonSpa if you're interested in getting me a gift card :o)

As for the rest of my skin...I'm in the market for a good exfoliating body cleanser to use in the shower! Anyone have any suggestions of a product you love?! I figure I'll use that and moisturize as I always do. Then, the week before the wedding I am going to get an Herbology Body Scrub. Shannon does this as well. It's basically a deep exfoliating cleanse followed by extreme moisturizing with oils. She says it's heaven and I CANNOT WAIT! 

Finally, I need a tan plan. I know, I know it's bad. But I can't help myself! I LOVE being tan! I don't however want to be too dark or look orange. I want a natural sun kissed look. So I'll probably go tanning once a week for a few weeks before the wedding to get some nice color. As some of you know I am obsessed with Planet Beach Contempo Spa. The thing I love about PB is that although it's a tanning salon they promote healthy skin care. They sell tons of services and products that can help heal and protect from the damages tanning causes. One of my favorite things of all time is the hydration station. It's a giant spaceship looking bed that combines infared light and nutrient-rich steam which moisturizes your skin, cleanses pores, increases collagen and skin elasticity and extends your tan! It's also been known to tighten and tone your body giving the appearance of weight loss! So, you better believe I will be spending a lot of time in that bad boy before the wedding! I'll probably go once a week before I tan the weeks leading up to the wedding! 

Whew, that was long. But that's my Wedding Skin Care Regimen. Do you have any tips for getting perfect skin before your wedding day?

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Gratitude Challenge!

This week is all about being thankful and one of the lovely blogs that I follow (Keeping Up with Kelly & Co.) is doing a gratitude challenge and although I can't commit to the full 21 days, I love this particular challenge. The goal is to make a list of things you are grateful and thankful for using the letters of the alphabet as a guide. So, here's what I came up with:

Alpha Omicron Pi. I was a member in college and met some of the most important people in my life there. I grew so much during those four years, learned so much about myself and had the time of my life. I am still involved through the Advisor Committee and am so grateful to have this organization as part of my life. 
Bailey May. It’s no secret that I am OBSESSED with my dog and treat her as though she is a human baby. In fact, one of my nicknames for her is Human Baby. I love her so much and am so grateful to have her unwavering and unconditional love.
Christmas! I am grateful for all things Christmas….Spending time with family. Amazing meals. Great movies and music. And most importantly celebrating God and faith. 
Dance. I love it. I love to dance. I’ve been dancing my whole life and it’s always been really important to me. I also love to watch dance….I love going to shows and watching dancing shows (So You Think You Can Dance is the best show ever created!)
Edina is the city I grew up in. It's a beautiful suburb of Minneapolis and I LOVED it. When I moved there in 7th grade I was nervous and scared and thought for sure I would hate it, but I was so wrong. I loved the high school, I loved our house and neighborhood and I especially love the amazing friends I made while growing up there! 
Family. J and I are blessed with an enormous amount of family members and they mean so much to us. I am so grateful to be so close to my grandparents, Aunts, Uncles, cousins, parents and siblings and that J’s family has embraced me and included me. 
Gopher football! If you read this blog on a regular basis then this is no surprise to you. I went to school at the University of Minnesota and have been a die hard Gopher fan since the first day I moved in to the dorms. Going to the Gopher home games has gone from a fun college Saturday social event to a special time to be with family and friends. 
Hot Sauce, Frank’s Hot Sauce in particular. I don’t know what I did before I discovered this amazingness. I am thankful for Frank and his hot sauce for making all my food taste that much better!

In-laws. I am so grateful to have not 2 but 4 amazing people that will soon become my in-laws. I have known J’s dad and step-mom (Kevin & Judye) since I born and they have always been like an aunt and uncle to me. Lisa and Deward (J’s mom and step-dad) are newer in my life but are amazing. 
Jason. He is the love of my life. My best friend. My soul mate. My rock. My partner in crime. The funniest person I know. The most annoying person I know. The cutest person I know. I am so grateful to have to J in my life and I can’t wait to spend the rest of it with him. 
K___________. My last name starts with a ‘K’ and my mom’s maiden name starts with ‘K’ as well (sorry kids, I wanna keep my identity somewhat private). I am really proud of my roots and my heritage and my family. I am excited to be an F______ when I marry J but it’s weird to lose my last name. It’s been my identity my whole life and connects me to my family, it’ll be strange not to have it anymore.

Libby is my best friend in the entire world. We’ve been friends for over 10 years and I don’t know what I would do without her. She is the only person in the world that understands my sense of humor, only because she has the same. We have laughed and cried and been there for each other through thick and thin. She is one of the funniest and without a doubt the most beautiful people I know and I love her sooooo much! 
Military. I have a really close friends who spent significant time in Iraq and getting calls from across the globe hearing first hand what he was going through gave me so much more appreciation than I had before. I am so grateful to live in a free and protected country and am forever in debt to those who leave their families and friends behind to serve and protect. 
Nate is my younger brother and I don’t think I could love him anymore. He is a senior in college, the captain of the basketball team and the funniest person I know. I am so grateful to have a close relationship with my brother and cherish the amazing memories we have from our childhood. 
Opportunity. I am so grateful for the opportunities I have been given. The opportunity to go to school and the opportunity to open a business are the big ones!

Parents! I have two pretty amazing parents who I adore! They’re both hilarious (in completely different ways), support me no matter what I’m doing, love J, and buy me dinners now and then. I am really grateful to have both of my parents and to have amazing relationships with both of them. 
Quiet! There are some people (J) who always need to be doing something or don’t like to be alone…I am not one of them. I covet my alone time. Whether I’m just sitting and doing nothing, or reading a book, or taking a nap I am grateful for my “me” time.

Reality TV. I spend a lot of my free time winding down from an exhausting work schedule and nothing helps me unwind more than my shows. I watch a couple of “real” shows, but for the most part I love reality TV and am grateful it was created.

Sisters! I grew up with one brother but when I was 12 I got a little sister and then this past August I got two big sisters and next November I will get two more sister-in-laws. I am so grateful to have these wonderful women in my life! 
Twin Cities. I LOVE where I live. Minneapolis is a beautiful city with so much to offer. I love our downtown because it’s a big city but it’s not huge, it’s easy to get to and easy to navigate. I also love that St. Paul gives you a whole different feeling, a smaller downtown with more history and so beautiful. The best part though is all the lakes. This area is so beautiful and whether I’m walking around one of the city lakes or on a boat in one of the suburban lakes I love being by the water.
United States of America. I am proud to be an American and proud to live in this beautiful country. One of my favorite holidays is Fourth of July and I tear up every time I hear the National Anthem (seriously, I do).
Vacation. I am very grateful to have had the opportunity to travel. I love seeing new places and wish I could go on more vacations. I have a long list of places I want to travel to and can’t wait to have the opportunity to do so. 
Wealth. I’m not swimming in the dough by any means but I’ve always had a roof over my head and food on the table. I have always been taken care of and have never had to deal with major hardships financially. I am really grateful to have had parents that provided for me and I hope that J and I are able to provide financial stability to our children as well.

Xenwood…wait for how clever this is….Coffee Buzz is located on the corner of 36th Street and Xenwood. I am so grateful to have this business and be doing something I love. It’s not always easy but it is super rewarding and hopefully some day all of this hard work will pay off!
Years…this is a stretch I know, but I am really grateful for all of the years of my life. It hasn’t always been a bed of roses but I am very lucky to be healthy, have a healthy family and have so many amazing memories. I am also excited and grateful for the years to come.

Zzzzzs…I love sleep. I am so grateful to have a warm and comfortable bed perfect for naps, a good night’s rest or an entire day of catch up snoozing. I am also grateful that J gave me this idea because I was going to write about Zebra Print….I am really am grateful that it’s in style again. 

What are you thankful for?