MIMM: Scenes From a Relaxing Weekend

G’morning, everyone — it’s a gloomy and rainy Monday morning here, which I think calls for an extra cup of coffee. (Or three. But hey, whatevs.)

Once I wash down a few mugs of delicious java, I  have a new workout on tap for this morning — and because little things make me inordinately happy, I’m really excited about it. (Things like a new bottle of body wash have been known to make me bound out of bed, all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, in excitement.) I’ll let y’all know how it goes!

In the meantime, thanks as always to Katie for hosting Marvelous In My Monday, a much-loved weekly blogging ritual that helps mitigate the Monday blahs.

Anyways, we had an awesomely relaxing weekend, and it was just what I needed.

Brandon and I had many long chats about life, our jobs, etc., which was phenomenal. I love the times when we’re able to just hang out and talk. Apologies for the impending schmaltz here, but I must say: back in the days of my generally disastrous dating misadventures (and oh, there were many disasters), I never thought I’d find a man whose company I enjoy as much as that of my closest, dearest friends. On our first official date, Brandon and I talked for something like six hours before actually going out to dinner — and that was when I knew this guy was different. I love spending time chatting and generally being goofy with him, which is something I would’ve never thought possible four years ago. Life works in amazing ways sometimes, y’all.

Marriage = Friendship
To quote the Princess Bride: Mawwiage!

I was also able to do a lot of reading, which was freakin’ phenomenal. I love reading — when I was growing up I used to spend hours each day with my nose stuck in a book, and given the opportunity to do the same thing now, I’d gladly go for it. Many thanks to Meghan for mentioning the existence of HGTV magazine; I love me some design mags, and this was the first issue of my new subscription. (*Does happy dance*) Let’s not forget the Sunday Times, which has been a staple of my weekend for many years.

Sunday NY Times and HGTV Magazine
Gettin’ my weekend leisure reading on.

The weather was gorgeous this weekend, so we decided to walk to one of our favorite restaurants. After a delicious lunch, we strolled home in the sun — and I took pictures (albeit camera phone pics, but hey, that works too) of some gorgeous azaleas. I lurve azaleas, and it makes me happy each spring when I see them bloom.

Azaleas
They’re so purdy!

I also tried out a new breakfast concoction, thanks to a brilliant idea from Caitlin: peanut butter cereal with chocolate almond milk. Now, few things make my taste buds as happy as the chocolate-PB combination, but really, a girl can’t exactly go nuts (pun intended) on Reese’s without her teeth and estomago rebelling against the deluge of sugar. So when I saw Caitlin mention her favorite cereal combination, I swear I could hear bells ringing and see lights flashing (à la someone who’s just hit the jackpot at a casino slot machine). I had to try it, and hoooooly crap, y’all, it’s effing delicious.

Gluten-Free Cereal With Almond Milk
Best. Combination. Ever.

The panda is cheering because he knows he’s about to be united with his culinary BFF. Obvi.

Gluten-Free Cereal with Chocolate Almond Milk
Behold, the bowl full of deliciousness!

This concoction is filled with so much win, I can’t even tell you. I have no idea why it took me so long to get on the chocolate almond milk bandwagon, but I’m officially a convert. I’m going to add chocolate almond milk to all manner of things now, so this should be fun.

I also did a wee bit of blog maintenance: I added a new page for the Inspirational Women Interview Series, and I’m thinking of categories that would be worth breaking out into separate pages. Right now the only thing I can think of is a recipe page, but I’ll gladly take suggestions — let me know if y’all have any ideas! 🙂

I hope everyone has a lovely Monday — what was your favorite part of the weekend? Have you tried chocolate almond milk? What’s your favorite weekend reading material?

And now, some nerd humor:

Galileo Meme
#nerdhumor. It’s how I roll.

Grown-Up Saturday Morning Cartoons: This Week’s Article Roundup

Great moments in brain fail: last night as I was falling asleep, I thought of a great way to start today’s post — but now I cannot for the life of me remember what it was. I mean, I remember that it was truly awesome and that I was all excited about it, but that’s it. My brain has purged any related memories from its records. Argh.

Oh well: the silver lining here is that the lack of an intro means that we can dive right into this week’s article round-up. 🙂 Enjoy, and have an awesome Saturday!

Health & Fitness:

NYT: How Exercise May Boost the Brain

NPR: Surprise! Organic Apples and Pears Aren’t Free of Antibiotics

HuffPo: The Best and Worst Foods for Allergies

NYT: Ask Well: Exercising Before Bedtime

 

Stress Relief & Life Management:

HuffPo: Be Here Now: 3 Exercises to Be More Present

MindBodyGreen: 5 Ways to Quiet Your Mind

Regret-Free Life: Smart Risk Management

 

Gender Issues:

NYT: How Shared Diaper Duty Could Stimulate  The Economy

A Practical Wedding: My Life is Good*

Slate: This Is Me Leaning In: Why Do Accomplished Women Lack Confidence?

NYT: School Vote Stirs Debate on Girls as Leaders

 

Humor & Warm Fuzzies:

Wedding Message From Afghanistan: Deployed Pilot Films Midair Speech for Brother’s Nuptials

HuffPo: Baby Covered in French Bulldogs Is Even Cuter Than It Sounds

BuzzFeed: 17 Shakespearean Insults to Unleash in Daily Life

Fun Facts Friday: My Borat-Themed Wedding

Good morning, y’all, and happy Friday!

First and foremost, thank you so much for your kind comments on yesterday’s post. The empathy and encouragement mean more than I can put into words, so I’ll have to make do with an epic thank you. Soooo…THANK YOU!

After yesterday’s introspection, I figured I’d go with a lighter topic today. A few weeks ago, I referenced the fact that Brandon and I had a Borat-themed wedding. A couple of you good people asked if we had more pictures of this momentous occasion, and indeed we do! (In fact, we have thousands. Our photographer was freakin’ amazing, and she took tons of awesome pictures.)

IMG_8433ws
That’s us, reveling in the seriousness and profound solemnity of the occasion.

First off, the basics.

Wedding date:  July 30, 2011

Location: Colorado Springs, CO (my hometown)

Venues: Shove Chapel on the campus of Colorado College for the ceremony, and the Trianon on the campus of the Colorado Springs School for the reception.

Beyond those basics, the most important element was cost. Brandon and I were both adamant about not spending obscene amounts of money on our wedding — the average wedding apparently runs something on the order of 20K, and there was no. Effing. Way. We were going to do that.

I actually wrote an entire blog about our low-budget, high-awesome wedding and my critique of the Marriage-Industrial Complex. (Warning: I was totally uninhibited in my use of profanity while writing that blog. If such things offend your sensitivities, I don’t recommend reading it.) It’s amazing how hard the wedding industry works to make women feel like they have to spend insane amounts of money on unnecessary things OR ELSE THEIR SPECIAL DAY WILL BE RUINED FOREVER — and as I delved further into wedding planning, all these things really started to piss me off.

IMG_8489ws
Like I said: solemn and serious.

 

I mean, really: I read an article on a wedding planning site (which shall remain nameless to protect the guilty) that carried on at length about how an inadequately decorated cake table can make or break your photos. I’m not kidding. It laid the guilt on thick (because what if you look back in 10 years, see that your cake table had insufficient decor, and then realize with horror that your wedding pictures — and by extension, the whole day itself — were ruined?!), and I quite literally sputtered in disbelief when I read it. I felt like I was living in an alternate universe, or that my brain was going to explode from being simultaneously flabbergasted and furious, or both. Needless to say, I couldn’t not write about it.

We also decided to eschew the Marriage Industrial Complex by getting totally unconventional and goofy. I inserted a Monty Python quote into the ceremony program, and we took the aforementioned Borat approach to our reception. The things we did are all based on this scene from the movie:

First and foremost, we had the wedding sack. Brandon’s mom took a close look at this scene to get a sense of what the Borat-n’-Pamela sack looked like, and she replicated it perfectly. It has the red tassel fringe, the goofy flowers, and our names and wedding date. (Someday we hope to get it matted and framed so we can display it with pride.) Here’s the series of photos showing the big bagging — check out the facial expressions of the folks in the background as they realize what’s going on.

IMG_9240 IMG_9243IMG_9040IMG_9244IMG_9041IMG_9246 IMG_9247One of our favorite scenes from Borat’s futile attempt to marry Pamela Anderson is the part when he says “But Pamela! I will give you your own plow!” Brandon had the awesome idea to Photoshop a picture of me into a picture of back-breaking manual labor while plowing a field. I’d taken some farcical, “Stepford wife gone wrong” pictures when I first bought my wedding dress, so he worked his Photoshop skillz to produce this gem:

IMG_8605 IMG_8606After he was done working his magic with this, we got a poster-sized print of it, framed it, and put it behind our seats at the reception. If ever there was a centerpiece that sums up Brandon’s and my shared sense of humor, this is it.

So there you have it, friends: our economical and totally irreverent Borat-themed wedding. 🙂

I hope everyone has an awesome Friday!

MIMM: One Lovely Blog Award

Monday has returned…replete with wintery slop.

Gross Weather
THIS IS NOT OKAY.

WTF, Monday? What’s next? Are you planning to commemorate the beginning of Passover by bringing your Biblical plague homies (frogs, pestilence, locusts, etc.) to DC for the day? I mean, wintery slop is fairly miserable on its own, but it’d be a lot more amusing if it were accompanied by a downpour of frogs. At least then maybe work would get cancelled?

Biblical plagues aside, though, there are two things making my Monday look brighter: Marvelous in My Monday, hosted by Katie at Healthy Diva Eats, and the fact that I was nominated for my first blog award, thanks to the amazing Meghan of After the Ivy League!

In true DC fashion, I’ll say this: a pajama-clad happy dance may or may not have taken place when I saw that she’d nominated me. Further, I can neither confirm nor deny any allegations of said happy dance.

But whatevs, the happy dance totally happened.

So ok, the One Lovely Blog rules are to share seven random things about yourself and then nominate seven other bloggers. And, um, I think I’m pretty well equipped to rise to the challenge of being random.

…Because I’ve never been random on here before. Once. Ever. In just the same way that I’m never, ever sarcastic.

One-Lovely-Blog

Ok, so…random facts:

1) Brandon and I had a Borat-themed wedding. I’m not kidding. When we were wedding planning, prospective vendors would want to know what our wedding’s theme was. They’d throw out suggestions like princesses, fairy tales, Romeo & Juliet (ok, why do people choose this as a wedding theme? Romeo & Juliet is a tragedy. They both wind up dead.), and the rest of the conversation would usually go like this:

Me: Um, our theme is Borat.

Vendor: *Stunned silence*

Me: You know, Borat? The movie? Sacha Baron Cohen? Yekshimesh? High five?

Vendor: *Crickets*

Me: Hello? Are you still there?

Vendor: *Sputters in horrified disbelief*

We even had a wedding sack so we could re-enact the scene where Borat tries to bag and marry Pamela Anderson:

IMG_9041
That’s me, getting bagged and carried out of our wedding reception by my beloved.

2) I absolutely loathe fish. I mean, I can’t even handle the smell of it, or anything else that comes from the ocean. I want to like fish, because I know it’s really good for you — in the same way that I want to like tomatoes and cucumbers, which are super nutritious but also high on my “I’ll barf before I eat this” list (which is a big deal, considering that I’m mortally terrified of barfing and will do anything to avoid it) — but every time I try fish, I’m unspeakably grossed out. Even the smell of it makes me want to run away. So, my apologies to my brain cells for all the omega-3s I won’t be consuming through fish.

3) I’m incredibly OCD-like in my cleaning and organizational habits. I can’t sleep when I know the apartment is messy, unmade beds drive me to the brink of insanity, and I get all twitchy and agitated if my stuff is disorganized. It’s all a coping mechanism, though: when left to my own devices, I’m absent-minded, forgetful, and generally a hot mess. So, my rigid stance on cleanliness and organization is basically the only thing standing between me and total dysfunction.

4) I miss the West like woah. Every time I see a picture of the Colorado, Texas, or the Rocky Mountains, I get that “Why is someone trying to rip my beating heart out of my chest?” feeling before realizing that, no, it’s just crushing homesickness.

This is where I grew up, and I can confirm that DC ain’t got nuthin’ compared to the Rocky Mountains. (Image source: http://www.cheyennemountain.com)

5) I cannot — CANNOT — handle horror movies in any form. Scream, the movie that most of my friends thought was so campy as to be considered comedy instead of horror, made me terrified to answer the phone for weeks. Legit horror films aren’t even a vague possibility for me, as they’ll instill unspeakable terror in me for way too long. A colleague once told me the plot line for Paranormal Activity, and yours truly had to sleep with multiple nightlights on for at least the next four days. No lie. It’s a really good thing Brandon and I hadn’t started dating yet, because that almost certainly would’ve sent him running for the hills.

Couldn’t have said it better myself, my furry compatriot in horror movie avoidance.

6) When I was in London last fall for work, I took a few hours to go to Westminster Abbey. While walking around, I happened to see a plaque listing the names of various barons and other types who were buried there…only to find the name of one of my ancestors staring up at me. I wigged out, insofar as one can very quietly and respectfully wig out in Westminster Abbey.

7) I love doing accent impersonations. I can mimic Russian, Middle Eastern, French, British, Southern, Upper Midwest, and Jersey accents, and I wish I had time to take an improv comedy class so I could put this random skill to use. Since I don’t have time now, let’s just assume that I’ll be yukking it up in a retirement community circa 2046.

And now, to nominate seven other bloggers! All these are blogs that I’ve recently discovered but really enjoy — so to all those I’m nominating, I apologize if this is the blogging equivalent of a creepy blind date where the guy calls you 5 minutes after you get home.

1) Stephanie @ Riverside Baking
2) Caity @ Moi Contre La Vie
3) Kate @ Quarter Century Southern Living
4) Sara @ The Life Effect
5) The awesome, hilarious women @ A Confederacy of Spinsters
6) Caitlin @ The Siren’s Tale
7) Jorie @ The Midwest Maven

Anyways, it’s now time for me to hit the gym – and here’s a hint as to today’s entertainment while sweating it out on the elliptical:

https://mail-attachment.googleusercontent.com/attachment/u/0/?ui=2&ik=6f94ded14d&view=att&th=13da113e4127d87a&attid=0.1&disp=inline&realattid=760f0cf529cf9d8e_0.1&safe=1&zw&saduie=AG9B_P-TYtb2Y1y1ya4X0X6A7vFj&sadet=1364207099159&sads=N9Qf3Dhds1kELTtotVQx9HC4EuM
I REGRET NOTHING.

Hope you all have an awesome Monday!

Expensive Invitations? We Don’t Need No Stinking Expensive Invitations!