Crawfish, Dairy Queen, and Dirty Dancing

I spent Easter weekend in Texas. (Yay for four days off of work!) I got to spend time in my hometown with my family, and in downtown Houston with my closest girls. Zoey flew in with me and got to experience a little bit of life in small town  Texas. We were only there for a few days, but we managed to pack in enough fun to last us until the wedding.

Our visit began at my Mom’s dress shop, Dressin’ Up, so I could get my wedding dress altered, and actually see it for the first time! My Mom has used an amazing guy (Si Bui) for years now, who has never once messed up someone’s dress, (Take that Sunshine Cleaners!)

We drove to Si’s house in the ghetto, for real, and I stood in his tiny dirty home while he quickly took a look at me, put in a couple pins, and then shooed us away so he could get started. His home was literally full of clothes waiting to be altered, and he somehow managed to alter my very intricate wedding dress in 8 hours. He is a crazy talented Vietnamese sewing machine! It’s absolutely beautiful and fits me like a glove!

While the dress was being altered we were busy living it up at my parents home. It was sunny and 80 degrees, and my Dad was boiling a large pot of live crawfish. Zoey and I were so excited to be out of the city, the cold, and the wind that we laid on the hot concrete as my parents’ dog ran circles around us, excited to have company.

Eventually we began to sweat so we got up and took the four-wheeler and 4×4 for a ride through the neighborhood and down to the bayou.  We managed to get our rides covered in mud without getting a drop on ourselves….like a true lady.

For lunch, Zoey tried crawfish for the first time. We each gave her lessons and tips on how to peel the crawfish, but she was disgusted and could only do a few…big baby. My Dad took pity on her and peeled an entire tray full for her to eat. (I’ve never even got that kind of treatment!)

My vegetarian dish


My bridal party had planned an elaborately themed lingerie party for me that night, but I was forced to leave the house so they could decorate. My sister and Zoey (aka my matron and maid of honor) took me shopping to keep my busy.

The only thing I was told about this party was to dress “glamorous”, like I ever dress anything less.

I put on my fancy face and fancy shoes, and entered into the living room to find that it had been turned into a scene right out of Manhattan. Sex and the City was playing on the big screen, champagne and martini glasses lined all the counter tops, silver and blue balloons, flowers, and confetti covered all empty spaces, my favorite foods were on display (tacos, salsa, and hot fries), large framed photographs of NYC were on every table, posters of Carrie, Samantha, Charlotte, and Miranda were hung, the most amazing cake sat in the middle of the table, and all of my beautiful friends were dressed for a night out in their stilettos.

My Sex and the City themed party was unbelievable. After stuffing my face with lots and lots of chips (I was so close to lasting till’ Easter!), I opened my scandalous gifts. We spent the night catching up while drinking some kind of delicious coconut and cream cocktail my Mom made.

My night ended at a somewhat reasonable time (1am?) because I had scheduled my photo session for my bridal portraits at 8am Saturday morning. This meant I had to be up at 5:30am for makeup to make it to my 7am hair appointment. (God bless Courtney who is 7 months pregnant and more than happy to fix my hair at such a god-awful hour).

*BTW, Courtney did a beautiful job, and works at The Parlor in Nederland, TX.*

I chose my cousin Jeff to take my pictures, not because we are related and I get a nice family discount, but because I LOVE his work. He is truly talented and creative, and I knew he’d capture exactly what I wanted for my Bridal pictures, and boy did he not disappoint!

Me in the car on the way to get my photos taken!

I wanted my portraits to be personal and unique. I had an idea to take them around my hometown and at some of my favorite places. Jeff was willing to go almost anywhere, provided it had the right lighting, and work his magic. We took pictures in downtown Groves (by my Mom’s shop), at the local Dairy Queen (owned by one of my bridesmaid’s Mother and was a fav hangout during high school), at Starbucks (for obvious reasons), at a really pretty local Catholic church, at the Julie Roger’s theatre (where all my childhood dance recitals were held), and at a local art museum.

Jeff has already sent me a few teasers, and I could not be more stoked! They are turning out better than I even imagined. It is going to take all of my will power to wait and share them with you until after the wedding. And, it’s going to take a team of people to keep me from showing them to Fiancé. Two more months is a LONG time to wait for someone who can’t keep a secret for more then 5 minutes.

From here, my Mother had to drive me straight to a beauty salon to meet my girls. I pulled a “Dirty Dancing” in the back seat to get out of my wedding dress before getting to the salon. (I could actually see new gray hairs instantly growing on my Mom’s head.)

The rest of the weekend is just too much to continue on this first blog. Tune in tomorrow for dancing, a fake tattoo, and a surprise that involved me signing a waiver.


Spring Fever

This week has been AMAZINGLY warm here in the city. It is sunny and beautiful, and thanks to “spring break” I actually get to go outside and enjoy some of these lovely days. My place of employment doesn’t technically have a “spring break”, but the majority of the students who attend classes there do have spring break (for two weeks!).

Half of all the classes are canceled this week and next, which means my paycheck is also cut in half. I try to forget that by enjoying my extremely long breaks as best as I can. Everyone at work seems to be on the same page. If anyone walks past my building at any time this week they are very likely to find coaches laying in the sun rays coming through the giant windows, drinking coffee outside on the sunny steps, or sleeping under a table in the break room. My boss is in such a good mood I didn’t even get reprimanded for wearing shorts today.

Belle and I have had some very long walks around the city and through Central Park. The flowers are starting to bloom, the spring lines are advertised in every store window, and for the first time in MONTHS I can go for a walk without a coat, scarf, gloves, and hat on. Yay me!

I even had time to head downtown with Zoey and check out a new store called “The Hoodie Shop”. This is a weird little shop that sales nothing but hoodies, or things with hoods. They have new hoodies, vintage hoodies, designer hoodies, ugly hoodies,  pretty hoodies, you name the hoodie they got it! It’s also supposed to be a “hangout”. They have large comfy couches, the kind everyone wants to sleep in, all over the store, and a pinball machine, but nothing else to promote hanging out.

The ladies working in the store said they hope to start selling beverages one day, but until that day comes it seems like a really boring hangout. I mean, there’s not even snacks! Minus, the weird hangout atmostphere, it’s a cool hippy-type shopping place, if you’re in the market for something with a hood that is.

Today, I spent an hour of my break relaxing in front of Starbucks with a friend from work. There were 20 other people lounging in the Starbucks outdoor seating area with us soaking up the rays. We sat and sipped our iced coffees for so long that I actually turned a little pink! In March! I am seriously loving this weather, I even wore shorts and a tank today. Nothing makes me happier than summer clothes and a very very large iced coffee.

If you ever drink Starbucks, you should really invest in a Starbucks card/Starbucks app. For every 15 drinks you buy you get a free coffe (any style, any size), AND free add-ins. FREE! So, everytime my “free drink coupon” comes in the mail, which is basically weekly, I make sure to get the largest most expensive coffee I can get. This is usually the best day of the week for me.

I guess today is the flipside of “no mascara” day. “Shorts and Iced Coffee” day? Whatever you call it, I’m loving it and am even considering being productive for the second half of my “spring break”. Well, at least half of the second half…


Thank You Chocolate

And thank you Max Brenner!

Some days I feel super proud of myself. I am such a grown up. I work 40 hours a week, live in NYC, have traveled to several parts of the world, have two college degrees, and manage to raise an almost well-adjusted dog.

Today is not one of those days. (College does not teach how to not act like a baby.)

Today I feel very jealous and maybe a little childish…maybe. With Fiance and Zoey not working they get to have fun all day long. While I am at work I picture them sleeping till’ noon, waking up in their jammies, eating bon bons, shopping, eating fancy dinners, and then talking about how unfortunate I am and laughing.

I have to admit that I am relieved when I rush home for lunch and throw the door open to catch them mocking me and find Fiance sitting in his boxers watching the View…. I’d actually prefer to be at work than watch the View.

Today, though, they actually did go out and shop and eat all day. So I sulked through work and bought myself an extra Starbucks to perk up.

I was brooding all the way home. I put in my headphones and jammed to Beyonce’s “We Run the World.” It’s my go-to song anytime I am trying pump myself for anything. Well much to my surprise, we had visitors when I came home! Fiance and Zoey’s cousin is in town with his girlfriend. AND, they were waiting on me to go out to dinner! This so rarely happens.

Awww, aren’t they sometimes sweet?

I had to take my time getting dressed for dinner. (Because I was really hiding in the bedroom so I could stop being jealous and bitter, or at least practice hiding my jealous/bitter face.)

We went out and had a great time. We took our visiors to Vesleka, a Ukranian restuaraut from 1954 by Ukranian refugees from WWII. They produce over 3,000 pierogis daily by hand! And, it’s still a family owned business. We ate pierogis, matzah ball soup, and latkes. After dinner, we went the to the Strand.

The Strand is a super cool book store near Union Square. It advertises that it has over 18 miles of books. It’s also known for having the most rare books in the city, which is basically the most rare books in the world.  I ended up buying two books, Judy Blume’s Forever… (It’s a ‘school banned’ book), and  5th Avnenue 5 A.M. (because I’m obsessed with Audrey Hepburn). Every time I go to a book store I pick up about 15 books, then spend a half hour looking through and debating which ones have the most interesting covers, and then putting at least 13 of them back.

Our last stop was dessert at Max Brenner, Chocolate by the Bald Man. OMG, this place is chocolate heaven. Here are the desserts we got… a shake, a lemonade slushy with mint, Chocolate Pizza with melted milk and white chocolate meteors and an ice cream snow ball (optional: melting campfire marshmallows), Tutti Frutti Waffles red berries citrus salad, milk chocolate ganache, vanilla crumbled ice cream, and waffle fries with cocoa and chili powder. Obviously, I ordered the fries for dessert.

WE had to wait A LONG time for our food; so to entertain ourselves we drew new versions of “the bald man” on our napkins. We had a great time, and I loved getting to know the cousin’s girlfriend.

Can you guess who drew what?

Lots of chocolate makes me pretty happy, so I can now forgive Zoey and Fiance for having fun without me today.

Nighty Night.

White Coat Syndrome

This is an actual section of FAO Shwartz...I get nauseous every time I walk past it.

Today is Friday…Woo! I only work a half-day on Friday…Woohoo! (Before you start calling me names I should probably remind you that I work Saturdays.) I LOVE getting off at 12:30, eating lunch with Fiance and Belle, and then going shopping, shopping, shopping!

After lunch, Zoey, Fiance, and I headed to Soho for a sample sale from the designer Misha Nicole. They had some nice pieces, but the ones I liked the most were either not in my size, or way out of my price range. Still, it’s always fun to shop for beautiful clothes and jewelry. We continued our shopping at Uniqlo and H&M.

My shopping spree was cut short because I actually had made an appointment for laser hair removal. I was pretty nervous because this was my first experience with laser hair removal, but I just could not pass up the 89% off deal on! (It’s like Groupon.) Plus, I know several people who have tried it, and said it works. I’m sure it will work and be worth it, but I was really nervous about the pain.

Well, my appointment at “Aesthetic Haven” was located in Midtown in a two-room suite with one woman who worked the front desk, and the laser…no joke. The walls were white, the desk was white, the chairs were white, the table was white, and she was of course wearing a white DOCTOR’s coat…white, white, white! Can you imagine it? If you can’t, just imagine a very sterile scary doctor’s office.

(Once, I tried explaining to a new doctor that my pulse was through the roof because I get VERY nervous in doctors’ offices. He laughed and said I had a case of “white coat syndrome.” At the time, I was really irritated that he was laughing, because it was definitely not a funny situation, but I get it now. I really do have white coat syndrome, and today proved it. I may just have “all white syndrome”, it’s a creepy color. It’s not even a color. It’s just too clean!)

Before I even entered the “laser room” I was already sweating through both my shirts. Rationally, I know this woman is not a doctor, but seeing her in her lab coat sure made me feel like I was about to have my vitals taken. It took every bit of me to not look at my phone and say “Oh no! Someone I love was just in an accident! I have to leave right this second!”, and then run out the door. I actually kept my phone in my hands the entire time, just in case.

The one-woman-show was very friendly and sounded similar to a yoga instructor. She assured me that I’d survive and be happy to have done this. I smiled politely and pretended to believe her. I lay on the table waiting for panic to strike, when something instantly took all the fear away…

Pain. That lazer hurts! I was so focused on not hitting her that I didn’t even have time to think about being nervous. The only thing I could think was “Why do women put themselves through this…we actually pay people to hurt us!”

After I paid the Imitation Doctor, I met up with Fiance and informed him that I deserved a treat for everything I’d been through.

We went to 5th Avenue. We bought Starbucks. We got chocolate at Godiva. We shopped for some presents I needed to get. Then, shopped for his wedding band. I guess it all ended well. I can’t say if it’s worth it though… I actually have 5 more treatments before it’s all said and done. I’ll report back in a few months and let you know if I survived.

H&M has the most adorable baby clothes! Can you believe this is sized for a 2 month old?!?
My "nephew" Lain's 2nd Birthday present.
When we were ring shopping we were given free drinks and desserts... I love shopping.