The Wedding!

I have been a bad blogging lady lately and I apologize for that! These next few weeks will be busy, as have the past couple, but there are exciting things on the horizon that I can only begin to explain at the moment. And I will be back to explaining them!

First things first, it has been one week since we celebrated my sister Lauren and her now HUSBAND Nick’s wedding! It was truly a spectacular weekend of fun, love, and celebration.

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Our entire family and friends went up to the White Mountains for the weekend of the wedding. While the bride and groom to-be went up Wednesday, I headed up Thursday morning with my parents and the dog in one car and myself, my brother, my Grandma, and my brother’s girlfriend in the other. Upon arrival, we located the bride and groom and went off to grab some lunch. After, it was crunch time. We spent a good amount of time putting together flowers and pouring hot sauce into little containers- that was their goodie for the night.

At some point during our work stations, a groundskeeper came in asking if someone had a silver car- which someone did- and he was advised to put the window up because there was a bear in the car! Apparently, bears are all for chocolate and potato chips- I agree, bear.

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After that scare, it was time to get ready for the rehearsal dinner, mind you there was no real rehearsal. It was a beautiful evening with good food, heartfelt speeches, and a small night of celebration before the big day. Once we headed back to the hotel, we sat out on the front porch, overlooking the mountains and the golf course, sharing some stories and drinks.

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We were all up early on Friday- the big day- as there was much to be done. Starting with breakfast, I made sure my sister ate a filling meal and drank a ton of water. After, we did some last touch finishes on the decorations before heading out to get our hair done. I didn’t have too much of an idea in mind, but my hairdresser was excellent and got the importance of being a sassy Maid of Honor. I was very happy with my hair, as well as the job she did on my eyebrows. They looked real!

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After a quick stop for lunch, Lauren and I headed back to the hotel to get her ready for the first look pictures! Lauren and Nick decided to do their pictures beforehand, which works really well as they can enjoy the cocktail reception along with the guests. They shared their beautiful moment on a bridge heading into town, then went down to the river and stood on rocks. I am certain that those pictures will be incredible, but I am also certain that I would have had a heart attack if she had fallen in her dress.

I had about a half an hour to finish getting ready, so I zoomed back to the hotel, threw on my dress, and did my make up. All I need is a little bit, though I suppose that will remain to be seen once the official pictures come out. The bridal party and the parents and grandparents headed down the golf course to a small bridge where we all took pictures. Once we got back up to the main part of the hotel, we watched as all the guests started to arrive and make their way down to the ceremony area.

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I stood with Lauren for a few minutes in the bar as she iced her flowers in a glass of water- I’m not kidding, until everyone was ready for her. After a few minutes, it was time.

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As Nick and the groomsman took their place in front, the bridesmaids started to walk. I gave one last hug to my sister before it was my time to walk down a pretty major hill and stairs. I was focused on not falling in my new heels as well as keeping a smile on my face- not an easy feat. I will thank whoever yelled out my name and started a smattering of applause because they just know my love of attention.

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I did not anticipate how emotional I would get and there are a few pictures of me up there crying. On top of that, I was worried I would fall off the cliff because my knees were knocking. I don’t think I have ever experienced that level of adrenaline before, but I focused on breathing and being in the moment.

photo 4It was truly a beautiful ceremony, one officiated nicely by my cousin Maura, and before we knew it, it was time to make our way up to the porch for the cocktail hour.

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It was at this point that I said hello to people, ditched my heels, and put on my Maid of Honor tiara. The bride did not have any such thing, but she didn’t want one. Don’t worry, I had her permission. In fact, my sister was such a calm bride, that when my mom accidentally spilled a little red wine on her DRESS, she just found someone with a tide stick and took care of it. I think it was better since the ceremony had already happened.

The cocktail hour ended in a flash and we all headed up to the Carriage House where we enjoyed the reception. It was fun to dance in as we were announced and to watch the first dance that Lauren and Nick had spent weeks practicing- very sweet!

photo 1Before dinner, however, came the speech.

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Both Nick’s brother and I did a great job of portraying our happy (and somewhat jokey) feelings for the bride and groom. We got the room laughing and yes, weeping, but I think everyone was ready for dinner once we finished. Shout out to my Uncle Mike for his “uncles’ speech” as well!

The food was a delicious barbecue spread of grilled chicken, steak tips, pulled pork, mashed potatoes, corn bread, salad, and potato chips. After everyone had their share, the DJ got us all up dancing. It was such a fun night of dancing, singing, and laughing and though it ended too soon- as it always does- it is a night that we will always remember, especially I hope, the Bride and Groom!

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The rest of the weekend whizzed by in a flash, but we had so much fun together and I’m so glad we could all spend such a fantastic weekend together!

A Few Good MOHMents of the Weekend

Get it? Cus I’m the Maid Of Honor!?

One of the best parts about a wedding in the family are the parties leading up to the main event. The fun factor all depends on the people involved. Obviously, I think very highly of my sister Lauren and her fiancé Nick as I will be standing next to them as the Maid of Honor. This weekend, my mom and I planned an adventure away to celebrate with Lauren, our cousins, and aunts. Thanks to them, it was a weekend full of fun, laughs, food, and relaxation.

Lauren and I hit the road on Friday after work. We were excited despite the fog billowing around us and by the time we arrived, we were ready for a pizza dinner- Yes, I’m an awesome MOH and ordered her a gluten free pizza before heading out. Unfortunately, the pool was closed by the time we arrived, but we enjoyed our dinner while sipping on some wine with my mom, cousin Maura, and aunts Bea, Stacy, and Dawn. After dinner, we started to play Reverse Charades- where the team acts out the words and one person guesses. By the end of the night, we were playing Cards Against Humanity and laughing so hard, I went to bed with sore abs.

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We did not go to bed quietly as we are a rambunctious, loud, competitive, and funny as hell group and we couldn’t resist pulling a couple of pranks on each other.

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My mom actually got hit with a brief stomach bug, but she was a trooper and recuperated quickly in time for group manis/pedis. My feet definitely needed some special treatment. It was nice to relax and chat while getting pampered.

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By the time we finished with our nails, it was time for a bite to eat. We stopped at Stonewall Kitchen to try out the cafe before browsing. I chose a piece of quiche with tomatoes, spinach, and bacon and a fruit cup. The fruit cup was generous and juicy and the quiche was so-so with a couple of dry spots throughout. I think it would have been quite delicious had it just come out of the oven and not been one of the last pieces in the dish. At the store, I purchased a new jelly that I am SO excited to use and share with you all. I also selected a pancake mix that has fairly good ingredients, so I’m hoping it tastes great too!

After lunch and some shopping, we headed over to the outlets for a little shopping. We were all full and a bit tired, so we ended up only going to a few stores, but I bought a cute pair of shoes and a couple of skirts. This spring and summer, I think I will be wearing a lot of dresses and skirts. I’m so sick of the cold and pants are part of that!

Back at the hotel, my mom, Auntie Stacy, and I headed down to the pool. It was nice to be in the pool not just for swimming laps. We headed over to the hot tub for a bit after, but I do not have a high tolerance for hot water to that degree and I found myself jumping back into the pool every so often to cool off.

By the time we headed back to the rooms and readied for the evening, it was time for dinner. My cousins Meghan and Carolyn and Aunt Kristen had arrived by that time and we all headed out for a delicious dinner at an Italian restaurant. Since it was a fancy occasion, I decided on some sort of pineapple rum cocktail that was tasty, mostly because it tasted just like juice. I stuck with one for that. We all shared a bunch of salads before our meal, Lauren and I going with caesar, and they split them in the kitchen for us- good service move! For my entree, I went with the Pasta Melange, which is a seafood dish stocked with lobster meat, giant shrimp, and perfectly cooked scallops. It’s a downright shame that scallops are so expensive because they are one of my favorite foods! Tomatoes, peppers, and angel hair were mixed in with the fish in a cheesy cream sauce that was utterly delectable. I ate all the seafood out of it and a good portion of the pasta, but I stopped myself when I felt comfortably full. To celebrate, we ordered a few desserts to be passed around, so it was nice to have a selection of bites to try without gorging.

Back at the hotel, we engaged in more games. My Aunt Dawn had brought Hollywood Game Night, which is really fun except for one category. In it, you have to sing “do-do” instead of lyrics for people to guess songs. It sounds so easy and you feel like you should be able to perform easily, but the words playing in your head and the do-dos do not translate out loud as you may think. Suffice to say, I wasn’t great and earned us 0 points on my round. For the record, they should have gotten my do-doed version of “Singing In the Rain.” It was outstanding.

At bed time, there were a few more antics involving a severed peep, which I found again on my pillow the next morning. We were all tired from the day though, so people settled down much faster.

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In the morning, we got ready and checked out of the hotel so that we could go to a diner for breakfast. I had a blueberry pancake, two eggs over easy, bacon, and sausage. It was so good, but a big meal and kept me full way past lunch. To burn off those extra calories, Lauren, my mom, Stacy, and Dawn headed over to the beach area to enjoy the sunshine.

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Sunday was fabulous in regards to sunshine and warmth. There was no wind and the sun felt fantastic, so we walked the length of the beach, even stopping to test the water, which wasn’t bad. We couldn’t resist checking out a few stores and making some purchases before getting back into the cars.

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At that point, my sister and I went our own way home, since she wanted to make a final stop at the outlets. We both found a few good bargains that we were excited about. Just before that, we realized we had a hankering for ice cream and stopped at a small store on the side of the road. Turns out, they had PEANUT BUTTER OREO ice cream and it was delicious! We enjoyed our scoops outside on the benches, soaking up even more sunshine. HELLO SPRING, please don’t leave.

The ride home wasn’t bad at all. After I dropped her off at home and reunited her with her groom, I threw a lunch together for myself for Monday (bleh) and headed out for a walk/run combination. Sundays are usually my day off, but I didn’t do much by ways of exercise on Saturday and it was so nice out that I couldn’t resist. I finished four miles before my friend Molly texted me and met me up for a few more miles walking.

Home, I threw another load of laundry into the wash, had a quick dinner, and readied for the week ahead as much as I could.

It was an amazing weekend and I’m so glad we all got together to celebrate Lauren. Thanks to everyone for coming and making it so fun!

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Also of note before I finish off: HILLARY ’16! *More to come tomorrow.

Step Up, I’m Ready for My Close-Up

One of the big excitements in our family is the pending marriage of my sister Lauren to her fiancé, Nick. It is a big honor that I have been asked to be my sister’s Maid of Honor, and people have taken to calling me MOH. Okay, I’ve been calling myself that, but so have others. Some (my sister) may find my excitement to be over zealous, but I just like to refer to myself as sassy.

Others close to me have received nicknames that have to do, not with the bride, but with the Maid of Honor. For instance, my cousin Mikey is considered to be the MOH assistant, so with affection, we call him MOHAss. His sister Erin, is the assistant to the assistant of MOH and is now MOHhalfass, or at least I think she is. It changes on the regular. My mom’s nickname took off best, MoMOH, mother to MOH. It’s all very silly, but fun. Odds are, if you are in anyway connected to this wedding, you’ll get a nickname in time.

That was just a fun look into my quirky perspective, but it does have some connection to Workout Wednesdays. My goal for this wedding, or I should say hope, is that my excess skin will have tightened. I’ve maintained the same weight for a good two years now and the skin has progressed, but I still have a ways to go. Once this happens sufficiently, I will know if I want to lose more weight or if I feel that I’m in a good place. I have a lot of muscle, which makes the number on the scale skewed.

With September’s arrival, I’ve stepped up my workouts so that I can be in my very best shape for the wedding, which isn’t until next summer. My main goal is to incorporate a regular Yoga practice into my schedule because I believe this will help to tone and heal.

Last week, I went from having the best run of the summer, six miles, to a very poor run, maybe one mile. This was due to my cold. After being at my sickest last Wednesday, I thought I was feeling up for a run on Thursday, but I was very wrong. My nose started running and burning, my legs felt numb and weak, and I realized that even if I was feeling better, I wasn’t fully recovered yet. It actually took me past the weekend to be able to run again, which I just came back from and legged out three and a half miles, feeling good and strong, with only a slight nose drip.

I plan on increasing my runs as we progress into fall because the air will chill and the humidity will disappear. That’s what prevented me, in part, from running until today. The past couple of days have been killer.

During this time, I found it easier to perform my strength workouts. In order to up this, I’ve taken to doing five sets of ten or four sets of twelve for each move. I rotate between going through a cycle or focusing on all the sets of one move before moving on. I’ve felt the difference and feel like it has been more effective.

I’ve also increased my Tabata intervals to extend beyond the bike. Tabata means four minutes total of one exercise, twenty seconds working as hard as you can and ten seconds resting, then repeat. For my cardio two days a week, I’ve been doing this for the bike, treadmill, box jumps, kettlebell swings, and jump rope. It is exhausting, but fast and effective.

Another aspect I am trying to fit in more consistently is core work. I’ve extended my plank to hold for a minute and twenty seconds and my side planks for 45 seconds to a minute. I’ve been doing different core moves,d my current routine including t push ups, mountain climbers on my forearms, kneeling kickbacks, mermaid raises, hip lifts, bicycle crunches, hundreds, alternating ankle grabs, and elevated Russian twists. I find that when I break these moves up into sets, I am able to perform at my highest each time. I’ve been working through them in a cycle, which moves fast and leaves my abs burning.

I have not been swimming laps as much lately, but spending some time on the elliptical. This is partly because I wanted a break, but now because the pool is closed for a week for renovations at my gym. Once it gets cooler out, I will get back into that routine because I really like doing it. The problem has been finding the right time to go when it isn’t overcrowded.

With exercise, it’s all about listening to your body and resting enough, especially if your body has been sick or overworked. Working out is a source of comfort and stress release. It helps me feel better, happier, and more productive. When it doesn’t leave me feeling this way, I know I need to take a step back. After feeling off and weak last week, it was nice coming back strong these past few days!

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