Priorities, and stuff.

Don’t pay the ransom!  I escaped!

Just kidding.  No one would kidnap me.

Since my last post over a month ago, life has been ridiculously busy, and clearly I’m not good at finding the time to write while managing all that must come first.  For example, I’ve already been interrupted ten times in the last seven minutes since I sat down to write this post.  At this rate I’ll be lucky to get three posts up this summer.  In the past six weeks or so we’ve had my son’s Kindergarten graduation, a new puppy, our annual vacation back home to the Midwest, my wedding anniversary and my mother-in-law flew in to spend the 4th of July weekend with us.  It’s been a whirlwind, but it’s all been good.

FullSizeRender (1)And I know what you’re thinking….”Did she say she got a new puppy?!”  Yes, and she has taken up the bulk of my time and attention since she joined our family.  I didn’t mean to get a puppy.  I didn’t want a new puppy.  We already have three cats and a large dog.  But the universe sort of thrust her at me, and when the universe hands you an adorable little baby like that, well, you just can’t hand it back.

This is Mavis.  The last week of school while I was waiting to pick Bryce up, another mom from our class showed up holding this adorable little baby girl.  I took one look at her and my soul screamed, “Mine!”  I immediately asked the mom if she had gotten a new dog and she explained that her cocker-spaniel had “accidentally” mated with her sister’s Chihuahua.  The IMG_0086result was four of the most adorable Chi-Spaniel (that’s apparently what they’re called) babies you have ever seen, and they were giving them away to good homes.  Done!  I took a picture of her with my phone and texted the photo to Dan.  I took her home with me that day.  And now I remember why we decided we were done having kids.  She is adorable but exhausting.  Having a new puppy is just like having a new baby in the house.  I can’t turn my back on her for a second.  One second she is my Sweet Mavis, and the next she is Mavis the Destroyer.  Potty training sucks.  My only consolation is that when she’s FINALLY potty trained, I’m getting all new area rugs.

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I don’t usually post personal photos, but I think we look hot in this picture, so Happy Anniversary to us!!

Everything else seems a bit trivial in comparison to Mavis.  Our vacation back home was good.  I love the Midwest, I just can’t live there full time.  But summers there are heaven.  My anniversary was awesome, until it wasn’t.  Dan and I had tickets to a private chef’s table dinner at our favorite ocean-side resort.  Twelve couples enjoyed a five course gourmet dinner over-looking the ocean.  We had yellow-fin tuna ceviche that had been caught that morning off the coast of San Diego.  We enjoyed freshly caught and prepared lobster and other fresh sustainable foods that had been grown on the property of the resort along with wine pairings from a local vineyard.  It was fantastic.  We made some new friends and enjoyed drinks and live music in the hotel lobby bar after dinner.  And then I had to haul ass back to our room and spent the rest of the night praying to the porcelain god.   It wasn’t food poisoning because nobody else got sick.  It wasn’t alcohol because, sadly, I wasn’t drunk yet.  Whatever caused it ruined my night and I’m still a little pissed about it because when I get to eat food that amazing and that expensive, you bet your ass I want to hang on to it.  I need a do-over.

Now that life has returned to a normal speed for me, I’m trying to play catch up.  I’m reconsidering my rule about not posting my personal opinions about politics and/or religion on social media.  The world is going crazy and I might need to talk about it.  We’ll see.  In the meantime, I look forward to stalking all the blogs I’ve neglected over the past month.  I’ve missed you guys!  🙂

See!  She was meant to be my dog!

See! She was meant to be my dog!

Girls Trip 2016

Hello, world!

It’s been awhile.  I’ve been absent from my blog for almost two months now, in part because life is so busy and requires my complete and total attention, and also because for a while there I just didn’t have anything interesting to share with you.

However, I’ve recently returned from my annual high school girls trip and that is definitely worth sharing! Every year in the spring I go on a girls only trip with three of my great friends from high school.  Last year we went to Charleston, SC.   This year, my girls came here to Los Angeles.

LA is a big city, and for most of the vacay we wanted the feel of paradise.  Originally, we had planned to go to Catalina Island, but El Nino is an asshole and we couldn’t predict whether or not the weather would hold up for us.    So we opted to stay at a resort in Palos Verdes called Terranea.  It’s one of the most beautiful properties I’ve ever seen, and spending four days there was absolute heaven.  We hiked the trails around the cliffs of the resort, took a whale watching tour out on the ocean, laid by the pool and drank fun cocktails in the sun overlooking the Pacific.  We laughed, cackled at each other, talked and caught up on everything that’s happened over the past year.  Yeah, we know how to girls trip!

 

The view from our room!

The view from our room!

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From the pool, looking out over the Pacific ocean.

From the pool, looking out over the Pacific ocean.

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A Sea Cave!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Hiking trails

Whale watching!

Whale watching!

 

Sea Lions!

Sea Lions!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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There were, shall we say, moments that weren’t so perfect.  But my annual girls trip wouldn’t be what it is without some mayhem and madness along the way.  As usual, each of my friends has elected to use the name of their alter ego to protect their privacy and what’s left of their reputations.  We come from a small town, so….you know.

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The first night at the resort was the most intense.  And by intense I mean absolutely, fucking, bat-shit crazy.  Belinda lives a very responsible life of dedication to her family and her community.  So during girls trip she likes to let go.  With us, it’s a safe zone.  Jasmine is slightly more tame than Belinda, but only just.  Piper is  far more restrained and likes to relax and rest during girls trip.  I’m somewhere in the middle.  I enjoy going out and having fun but I don’t want to feel like death for three days, so I try to balance my alcohol intake and late nights in a way that allows me to enjoy the entire weekend.

10346188_10204729490055839_5592960337039461547_n[1]After an afternoon of drinking by the pool, and then drinking at dinner, Piper went to bed to read her book while Belinda, Jasmine and I went down to the lobby bar for some live music and more drinks.  I was tired, so I knew I wouldn’t stay out long but wanted to experience the hotel and I love live music.  After one drink in the lobby I went back up to the room, leaving Jasmine and Belinda behind to no doubt wreak havoc on the other guests and each other.  (I later heard some stories about a male, Armenian ballet dancer???)

An hour and a half later, the girls staggered into the room.  I have no idea what Jasmine promised Belinda to get her to go upstairs, but  I have no doubt bribery was involved.  When intoxicated, it takes an act of God to get Belinda to leave a party.  Regardless, they had the brilliant idea to turn our spa-style bathtub into a “hot tub.”  Piper was sound asleep.  I wasn’t.  I laid there listening to them filling the tub with scalding hot water, sloshing water all over our luxury hotel bathroom.  The conversation was as you’d expect.  Drunk, nonsensical hilarity.  They didn’t have a candle for the ambience so they put Vick’s Vapor Rub in the “hot tub” water to make it smell like a spa.  And do you know what happens when you’re drunk and you get into really hot water, which then thins your blood even more?  That’s right, it heightens the sensation of being drunk, makes you dizzy and disoriented.  And do you know what happens when you’re drunk and become disoriented?

11889619_872407892795412_4534014423081678605_n[1]I heard Belinda say, “I’m not feeling so well.”  Annnnnd, here it comes.  I was actually glad she got sick.  That way she could expel all the alcohol from her stomach and she could just pass out and sleep it off.  A little while later she stumbled to the bed and fell asleep next to me.  I got up to use the restroom and spent the next twenty minutes cleaning up the bathroom.  Water and vomit.  Good times.

I tried to go to sleep.  It wasn’t happening.  I was so tired and I had Puky-McPukerson on one side of me and Snory-McSnorerson on the other side of the room.  Jasmine was sick with a chest cold, wasted and passed out, snoring like a damn freight train.  Somehow Piper slept through the cluster-fuck.  I laid there, forever, pissed off and contemplating the purpose of this nightmare.  Why was I awake and unable to fall asleep while everyone else caused havoc and then slept peacefully, unaware of how much I was hating the whole world in that moment?

Then it happened.

10570476_10152232302186751_7149028096365490249_n[1]I heard Belinda making a weird noise next to me and realized she had begun to get sick in her sleep.  I jumped up, rolled her over and ran to the bathroom to get a towel.  At one point Piper woke up, saw me standing there with a towel in one hand and a pillow covered in puke in the other.  Our eyes met and she registered what was happening.  She smiled a smile that said, “better you than me,” and she rolled over and went back to sleep.   Bitches.

I cleaned her up, made sure she was turned on her side, and tried to go to sleep.  I’d like to think I was awake all night because I was meant to save Belinda from an ugly, Jimi Hendrix style death.  But there was nothing I could do to stop Jasmine from snoring all night.  So I laid there in my expensive, fancy hotel room.  Hating the world.

I think I finally fell asleep sometime after 4am.  The last time I looked at the clock it was 3:45am.  Then at 6am, Jasmine gets out of bed and starts moving around the room.  She slams the bathroom door, twice.  She opens the heavy draped curtains and let’s a flood of light into the dark room that blinds me, even with my eyes closed.  She staggers to the phone next to me and starts randomly punching numbers in the dark, trying to call for room service.  Then she stage whispers as loud as she can, “I’m so sorry.  Did I wake you up?  I’m still drunk and I feel like shit.”  Then she says to the person on the phone, “I need a spoon!  Can you bring me a spoon?  I need a spoon for my yogurt.  Does this room have coffee in it?”

Are you kidding me?!  Awake….at 6am….for a spoon.

5430_1117012754976571_6374602042068399513_n[1]Much later in the day I was able to laugh about it.  After I had taken an afternoon nap and stopped hating everyone.  Belinda felt really bad.  She thanked me for taking care of her.  That’s what friends are for.  You should never worry about drowning in sick while in the company of life long friends.  And I know that if I was at my worst they would take care of me.  Probably.  If they weren’t all passed out drunk.  Except they wouldn’t write about it and tell my sad tale for the whole world to read, which actually makes them better friends than me.

Sorry, not sorry.   😉

Labor Day weekend, a wedding and a lot of wine!

chicago-skyline[1]Labor Day weekend Dan and I went to Chicago without the kids for a wedding.  One of my college roommates was getting married and we haven’t had a grown-up only weekend in almost a year.  It was fantastic!

When I travel without my kids everything is different.  I can drink wine on the plane, only pack for myself, and read smutty chic-lit on my Kindle instead of entertaining two kids for four hours with snacks, Ipad games and constant reminders to stop kicking the seat in front of them.  I relaxed, enjoyed the flight into my favorite city, and did my best to get over the fact that I had to sit in the suck-hump-middle seat in order to sit next to my husband on the flight.  No one likes the middle seat, on any airplane, ever.

Chicago was amazing, as always, and the wedding was so fun.  I’ve been blessed in my life with the gift of incredible, life long friendships, and my college friends are some of the most outrageous, hilarious, intelligent, dynamic, beautiful women I know.  We’ve all gone on to do different things with our careers and family, but when we come together it’s like no time has passed and we’re all nineteen again with fake ID’s trying to sneak into bars and pick up hot guys, except now those hot guys are our husbands.

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Here’s the recap, and nicknames have been given to protect the guilty.

On the way to the wedding, TSGHLM’s (This Summer’s Gonna Hurt Like A Motherfucker-her requested nickname) dress split up the side.  Dr. Evil and I took turns sewing her back into her dress on the Uber ride into downtown Chicago.  Unfortunately,  Dr. Evil gets car sick, and trying to sew TSGHLM’s dress caused her to become extremely nauseated.  She managed to hold it together, I took over the sewing, and no pre-wedding car sickness occurred.  TSGHLM’s dress was repaired and I can now add car seamstress to my list of party tricks.

1338993291108_8649686[1]During dinner Dr. Evil kept trying to build a glass pyramid on the table with all the empty wine and champagne glasses.  The wait staff would calmly walk over and dismantle her pyramid without too much fuss and take the empty glasses.  She would wait until they walked away and we would drain our glasses so she could re-build her crystal masterpiece.  We had a lot of glasses.  When they finally reprimanded her for her inappropriate behavior, she responded by adding another tier to her tower.

Also, at some later point during dinner, someone who’s judgment was definitely questionable decided that the party favors on the table, which looked to me like crystal candle holders embossed with the bride and groom’s name and wedding date, were actually small wine glasses.  So they became wine glasses, and I’m still unclear on their actual function.

dirty-dancing-wallpapers-983074-2-s-307x512[1]During the reception, Trixie decided to re-create the Patrick Swayze/Jennifer Grey scene in Dirty Dancing by crawling across the dance floor, on her hands and knees, in her evening dress, toward another of our friends sitting at a table.  She completed the crawl but might have been too drunk to get back up.  I was laughing so hard I missed part of it, but I’m pretty sure she had to call for an assist.

Drevil_million_dollars[1]During an epic dance performance, I may or may not have allowed Dr. Evil to motor-boat my chest on the dance floor.   I’m super classy like that, and you may be realizing why we call her Dr. Evil.

The Bride, whom we shall call Ellie, got busted in the bathroom for smoking an e-cigarette.  The event staff had to reprimand her, at her own wedding!  She also had her sister cut the tulle out from under her dress during the reception.  Nothing says good times like vandalizing your own wedding gown on your big day!

There was a really beautiful moment when the DJ played Time After Time by Cyndi Lauper.  Our small, drunk army of roommates and friends gathered around Ellie and circled her on the dance floor.  We danced around her, singing at the top of our lungs while each of us took turns dancing with her in the center of our circle.  It was a complete and total love fest as well as a gesture of loyalty and solidarity that has remained unchanged for the past 23 years.

10375120_10152852902922819_24777841281501259_n[1]I’m pleased to report that there were no public displays of nudity or pressed ham.  And  believe me when I say that’s progress, folks.  At this point in my life, with this group of friends, I could never run for public office.  There is way too much photographic evidence of the good times we’ve had in life.  Dan showed me cell phone video of me rocking out with the ladies like a wannabe 80’s rock goddess on the dance floor, and I said, “Oh, that’s the wine talking.  That’s ugly dancing!  Delete that and we shall never speak of it.”

I woke up the next afternoon feeling like road kill.  We spent the day like we would’ve in college.  We laid on the couch, watched movies, ate good food and made fun of each other and our epically bad behavior.  We’re forty!  It’s like all maturity goes out the window when we’re together.  We egg each other on and enable each other for the sake of entertainment and bragging rights.   When I expressed this to Dan his most wonderful and appreciated response was, “I love your friends.”

Yeah, I love them too.

Vacation!

Hello, world!  I’m home!

The family and I spent nine days visiting with friends and relatives throughout the Midwest.  I call this trek our annual Midwestern Tour, as we hit Illinois, Indiana and Michigan in the same week. This time of year the area where I grew up is amazingly beautiful.  You wouldn’t believe how green everything gets.  Even the corn fields look beautiful when I haven’t seen them in a while.

We spent the first couple of days in Chicago, then drove south to central Illinois to visit my grandmother.  We then drove three hours north through Indiana and Michigan to reach my mother, other grandmother and various relatives who live in the area.  It was fast, organized, exhausting and incredibly fun.

Here’s the highlight reel…

10635748_10152955877379574_8811372455149121989_n[2]While in Chicago, my college friend hosted a house party and invited all of our girlfriends from school, along with their families.  We BBQ, drink, laugh and relive our glory years together while our kids run around and make new memories and form new friendships.  This year the adults sent the kids to the basement to play so we could play the game, Cards Against Humanity.  If you’ve never heard of it, it’s an adult card game of mostly vulgar and inappropriate topics.  If you’re not too uptight and appreciate a dirty joke, then this game is for you.  I will say that I did surprisingly well in the game, and my two most popular cards read, “Altar Boys,” and “Two Midgets Shitting in a Bucket.”  Feel free to use your imagination here as to what these cards may have been in response too.  🙂

We visited my grandmother, who is 94 years old.  I’ve always had a very close relationship with my Nanny and she’s an incredible woman.  She is in amazing health but starting to lose some of her short-term memory.  We looked at the same photo album about four times, and although it was new for her every time, I continue to be amazed at her ability to remember details about family history from the late 1800’s and early 1900’s.  Her own mother was born in 1897, and every conversation feels like a history lesson, but one you don’t want to miss.  When I ask her how it feels to be 94, she tells me, “getting old is not for sissies!”

St. Joe lighthouse

St. Joseph, Michigan

While in Michigan, we visited with several of my high school friends, my mother, grandmother, aunt and a few cousins.  I went to my favorite childhood restaurants.  We drove to St. Joe and took the kids to Silver Beach, which is on Lake Michigan.  My kids ran down the pier alongside the lighthouse, disbelieving that Lake Michigan wasn’t as big as our Pacific Ocean back home.  I found a lake house there I would like to buy for the low, low price of 1.6 million dollars.  What a steal!  LOL!  At one point Bryn looked at me, while having dinner outside on a patio overlooking a beautiful lake active with boats and jet-skis, and she said, “I can’t believe you got to grow up here!”

Yeah, I got to grow up there.  It’s funny how so often in life we don’t appreciate what we have until we can look back with some perspective.  Growing up, I didn’t appreciate the beauty of the fields, the lakes or the small community that looked out for each other.  I took it for granted and was more excited to see other places.  I guess what I’m trying to say is that the older I get, the more I appreciate where I come from, and this annual trip means more to me every year.  I want my kids to experience the things I loved about growing up in the Midwest.  Admittedly, my kids have opportunities that I never had as a child, and I’m thankful for that.  But I also want them to appreciate the simplicities of life.  The small things and traditions that add up to big things when you look back on your life and remember what you loved most about your childhood.

lake canoeingI want them to gorge themselves on strawberries while picking them fresh from the fields, and then bring the berries home to make fresh strawberry jam in grandma’s kitchen.  I want them to canoe the rivers of my hometown and camp under the stars, even if it’s just in their grandmother’s back yard.  I want them to catch fire flies,  sit around a bonfire in a field with their cousins, learn to water ski on the lake and marvel at the incredible beauty of the leaves turning in the fall.   I want them to know who their people are, and why, no matter what they choose to do in life, it will always be special that their family comes from this incredible place.

So yeah, it was a good vacation.  😉

 

 

Wanda Says…My worst nightmare!

It rained spiders in Australia.

Did you hear me?

It fucking rained spiders in Australia!

http://www.nbcnews.com/science/weird-science/pouring-down-arachnids-australias-spider-rain-explained-n361006?cid=sm_fb

The end is near.

 

This is what I imagine Hell would be like.  Thousands of spiders falling from the sky!  Every cell in my body is jumping around and screaming in agony at the thought.

I hate spiders.  I’ve physically shuddered, my shoulders twitching, the hair on my arms standing up and chills racing up and down my spine, like ten times since I started typing this post.  I keep imagining that something is crawling on me.

Just….NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

No shower of spiders, “ballooning” from the sky, covering my house in threads of silk so dense it looks like cotton.  This sounds more like the plot line of a new horror movie, not a true scientific event that’s easily explained by arachnid migration patterns. This is seriously on par with a zombie apocalypse for me.  I would never leave the house again for fear of one of them dangling from the rooftop waiting to touch me.  Or worse, how could I not run from the house for fear that they would invade the openings or crevices of my home and work their way inside to crawl on me in my sleep!  I saw the movie Arachnophobia, and I didn’t sleep for weeks.

One time, I noticed this horrible, disgusting, hairy spider clinging to the side mirror on my car as I was driving to work.  I almost had to set fire to the car to get rid of that fucking spider!

I just threw up in my mouth a little looking at this picture. Thank God this isn’t a picture of my car. I borrowed this from Google.

I wish I didn’t know this.  I wish I could somehow make my brain un-know it.  I can never un-see this.  I may never be able to travel to Australia now, and I’ve always wanted to go there.  Australia is tainted for me now.

Spiders ruin everything.

 

Wanda Says…Great Laughs, Great Friends and Good Times in Charleston.

spring break pink car

Every year I take a girls only trip with three of my great friends from high school.  This tradition actually began when we were seniors in high school and we drove from Michigan to Florida for the week of Spring Break.

It was a big deal.

Everyone at our small school had their knickers in a twist over four seventeen/eighteen year old girls daring to drive fifteen hours to the heathen state of Florida for some fun in the sun.  We survived, had an amazing time, and made it home without one traffic ticket or incident of indecent exposure.

And we did it all without the aid of cell phones, GPS, or online internet maps.  We used real maps.  You know, the ones kids today don’t know how to read.  We called our parents to check in from pay phones.  And no one died because they weren’t able to reach us every second of the day.

We were totally independent, smart, capable, badass teenagers.

Fast forward twelve years of being sidetracked with college, jobs, boyfriends who became husbands, raising children, and some husbands becoming ex-husbands, we resumed our tradition of the annual girls trip.  Except now we fly instead of drive because we have more money and we’re scattered across the country.  We’ve been doing it now for about ten years, give or take a year off for unexpected complications.

Pineapple Fountain at Waterfront Park

Pineapple Fountain at Waterfront Park

This year we congregated in Charleston, South Carolina.

My travel itinerary wasn’t fun since I was basically traversing the country as far as possible from the west coast to the east coast, but once I got there I was completely charmed.  This was my very first trip to Charleston and I have to tell you, I was not disappointed.  It’s a fabulous city!

We stayed in the historic district and walked everywhere.  We took a carriage Red Brick and Stuccoride through the city and our guide detailed everything from minute details of residential architecture to churches and buildings of historic significance.  We shopped in the open market on Market St. and I bought Sweet Grass Baskets for my children as souvenirs.  We walked the waterfront to Battery Park, which has some of the most beautiful trees I have ever seen.  We toured Rainbow Row and marveled over the charm of flowered window baskets, burning gas lamps, and real wooden shutters that add an undeniable ambiance to the already weighty, historic feel of the city.

And the restaurants in Charleston are amazing!

I fell in love with the houses of Charleston!

I fell in love with the houses of Charleston!

One of my favorite restaurants was called Poogan’s Porch and they serve gourmet southern cuisine.  The food was fantastic and the service was incredible.  If you go to Charleston, plan to eat there, but make a reservation in advance or you won’t get a table.  I had the beef fillet with blue cheese dumplings, and it was to die for!

The other place I would highly recommend is called Kaminsky’s, and it’s a dessert bar.  It’s a bar that only serves alcohol and dessert.

Genius!

The line to get into this place was staggering.  Thankfully, we had stopped in there for hot drinks one afternoon when they weren’t busy and got to know one of the bartenders.  It was raining outside and we wanted to warm up with some spiked coffee.  The next evening we decided to go back to try their dessert menu as well, but there was a mob of people waiting outside to get in.   It would have been over an hour wait, but our dear new friend, the bartender, was able to snag us some seats at the bar and took excellent care of our dessert and cocktail needs for the rest of the evening.  The place is fun, charming and has some of the best dessert Martini’s, ever.  And I don’t like Martini’s, so that should tell you something.

Oak Trees in Battery Park

Oak Trees in Battery Park

Now, two of us, myself included, already had established alter egos.  I am, of course, Wanda.  One of the other girls is known as Belinda, but only when she drinks.  Not wanting to leave the other two girls without a fun, alter ego to enjoy the weekend, Jasmine and Piper were born out of much alcohol consumption and consideration of naming preferences.  I shall refer to my friends by their alternative names out of consideration of their privacy, and well, just because it’s more fun.

Jasmine received a chiropractic adjustment to her back, shoulders and neck by a local homeless man named Byron.  I’m not kidding.  We were walking down the street and observed this man cracking another man’s back while standing on the sidewalk.  Jasmine yells out, “I need some of that!”  Byron then crossed the street and began to work his magic.  I was shocked.  I was waiting for him to feel her up.  He was standing behind her with his arms across her chest, working her arms, back and neck.  At one point he said to her, “Lean back and put your head on my shoulder.  Trust me.”  And Jasmine said, “But I just met you.”  It took every ounce of self-control I had not to piss my pants right there because I was laughing so hard.  Jasmine decided to trust Byron, and he proceeded to give her, as she claims, one of the best back adjustments she’s ever received.  The look on her face was orgasmic.  She tipped him ten dollars.  He rode past us on his bike a few minutes later and shouted out, “You’ve been Byronized!”  Yes.  Yes she had.  (We found out later from our friendly bartender friend that Byron is a bit of a local celebrity, and every one knows him, loves him and he provides back cracking and adjustments free to anyone who needs them).

I love this house!

I love this house!

Belinda was good this year.  She managed her alcohol intake well and there were no incidents of ‘Girls Gone Wild’ this year.  We were really proud of her.

Piper just had a baby last year and is still breastfeeding.  It became fun for all of us to mimic the sound of the breast pump which occasionally made her boobs tingle trying to release the milk.  And we were treated to a special visit by her eight month old baby girl.  Piper’s husband drove down with the baby so she could meet her Auntie’s and enjoy an afternoon with us.  They live a couple of hours north of Charleston.  I’m not kidding when I say she is one of the most beautiful babies I have ever seen.  I gave her a pink bear, which we named Flo, and she loved her, which means, by extension, she loves me.  So that means I’m the favorite Aunt.  Just sayin’.

Waterfront Mansion

Waterfront Mansion

As for myself, well, I had a Ross Geller moment while at dinner on Saturday night.  I wore skinny jeans that night.  I never wear skinny jeans because I find them to be tight and uncomfortable.  But, to shake things up a bit, I wore skinny jeans to dinner.  We walked to the restaurant which was about a mile away from our hotel.  It was warm outside and I was sweating slightly by the time we got there.  Do you remember that episode from Friends where Ross wears leather pants on his date?  And he goes into the bathroom of his date’s house to air out his pants because his thighs are so sweaty?  And then he can’t get his leather pants back up and uses baby powder to absorb the moisture on his legs, but the powder mixes with his sweat to form a paste?  Yeah, well, my incident was sort of like that but without the baby powder.  Skinny jeans don’t like to be pulled up or down sweaty legs.  I went to use the restroom when we got to the restaurant and got stuck in the bathroom for a while trying to get my stupid ass skinny jeans back up my sweaty legs.  Never again.

In short, we had a great weekend.  Great laughs, great friends and good times!

PS–We are considering options for next year’s girls trip, so if any of you have a suggestion for a destination in the US, I would love to hear it.  🙂

Wanda Says…Keep calm and head to Chicago!

Chicago-skyline-2[1]This past weekend I went to Chicago, alone, for a girl’s weekend with some of my college friends.  I needed a break from my stay-home-mommy-madness.  I needed a break from laundry, dieting, cooking, and repeatedly asking small people to brush their teeth and put on their shoes.

I love Chicago, and it is my favorite city!  Aside from being beautiful with endless cultural opportunities and diversity, there is a comfort and familiarity that always draws me in.  Lakeshore Drive, Michigan Avenue, State Street, Navy Pier, Grant Park, Buckingham Fountain and the Shedd Aquarium all hold memories for me that span the first 25 years of my life.

Millennium Park

Millennium Park

Some of my favorite memories include prom dress shopping at Lord & Taylor and Bloomingdales, attending the Taste of Chicago food festival, Cubs games, making a music video at Navy Pier (which I am still extremely embarrassed about), attending a friends fairy-tale wedding at the Hilton Towers, and endless nights of fantastically bad behavior while bar hopping with friends.

The weekend was amazing!

We spent time in downtown Chicago and went to Macy’s to look at the holiday windows.  We had lunch at the Walnut Room and I felt the holiday spirit begin to rear it’s glorious head as I drank wine and allowed myself to be sucked into the moment .

Macy's Christmas Tree in the Walnut Room

Macy’s Christmas Tree in the Walnut Room

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I believe!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We walked the city and visited Cloud Gate, or as the locals call it, The Bean, at Millennium Park.

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The Bean!

We drank endless bottles of wine, ate tapas and sang at the top of our lungs in a lovely little dive bar.  We reminisced over old memories and we laughed until our sides hurt.

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I froze my ass off, but it was worth it!

I want to thank my friends for making themselves available to me when I desperately needed to escape from my life for a few days.  Thank you, Jennifer, Katie, Amy N., Amy D., Jenn L., and Melissa.  Thank you for being the wild, wine-drinking, fun-loving, adventurous women that you are!

I also want to thank my mother-in-law for the first class plane ticket to Chicago!  You spoiled me rotten for my birthday and gave me a much needed boost to restore my sanity, and I can’t thank you enough!  🙂

Wanda Says…What happens on the island, stays on the island. Mostly.

Last weekend my husband and I went to Catalina Island for a wedding. Yeah, it wasn’t rough.

One of Dan’s fraternity brothers from college was getting married, and although it was a small wedding, the list of people invited ensured that the weekend would involve three days of organized hilarity and madness, which is just what this newly-turned 40 year old, sometimes depressed stay-home mom needed.

The weekend was fantastic! You have to take a boat or helicopter from one of the ports in and around southern California to reach the island.  It’s about an hour and twenty minute trip by boat.  On our trip out there, our boat was escorted by a large school of dolphins.  It was incredible!  The dolphins played and danced in the waves alongside the boat, and stayed with us for several miles.  There were baby dolphins as well, and my husband was hanging off the side of the boat to capture these pictures.

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The island is very small, so cars are a rarity and you either walk everywhere or rent golf carts. We stayed at a beautiful hotel located on the main street, ate fresh seafood at restaurants overlooking the bay, and the Catalina Air Show provided some very exciting entertainment.  Planes of all varieties were swooping and diving, skimming the water as the pilots showed off their mad skills.  The most exciting moments though were when an F-18 fighter jet practiced maneuvers over the island as part of the show.  I can honestly tell you, that was some sexy shit.  When that jet flew overhead, the noise was deafening, the walls of the restaurant rattled and every cell in my body jumped to attention.  I kept looking around, waiting for Maverick and Goose to stroll into the bar so I could buy them a beer.

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It was a Sunday wedding, and Mimosas were served on the lawn overlooking the bay with palm trees and blue skies as far as the eye could see. It was truly an incredible place to get married.

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I had planned to write a very detailed blog post, sharing all the bad behavior and drama that ensued over the weekend. Then I realized some of our friends might not appreciate that, because you know, what happens on the island….

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So out of respect for our friends, I will refrain from posting any embarrassing stories or moments that could be traced back to the not-so-innocent. But I will share this one tiny little bit of detail…while partying at the bar after the wedding, SOMEONE licked the chest, and chest hair, of the guy who officiated the wedding.  After observing this icky display of drunken madness, I looked at my husband and said, “That dude is not a man of God.”