Life's Best Moments: Weekend Update

First and foremost, Happy Easter, loves! Secondly, I apologize for the lack of posting last week. Between a busy (and short) week at work, fighting a cold and heading home for a long Easter weekend, suffice it to say that I didn't make time to blog. Here's to a better week!

So, as I said, we went back home again this weekend to spend Easter with the fam. It was a GOOD FRIDAY to have off (get it?), so I headed home on Thursday afternoon. It was just me, the dog, my book on tape and the open road. I don't mind driving alone for short periods of time (Bryan came up on Friday), so it was actually a nice few hours of solace.

Thursday evening, my sisters, brother-in-law, niece and Mama went out to dinner, and then my sistas and I just relaxed and caught up on the DVR. Thankfully, we all watch the same shows!

Here's the rest of the weekend in photos:
  1. Reunited with Sloan—and it feels so good!
  2. Friday morning breakfast=cake testing with my bestie! We found a couple of winner's!
  3. 2-for-1 happy hour = double glass of wine. (I promise it's not water.)
  4. Emily, Britt and SJ at happy hour!
  5. Kelsi & I at happy hour!
  6. All of us girls enjoying some cocktails!
  7. Sloanie and I before the KU game.
  8. Sloanie feeding my some crackers :)
  9. Aunt NaNa & Aunt CheChe!
  10. Besties for 17 years!
  11. Saturday morning snuggles with Addy and Uncle Bry Bry
  12. Swingin' on Saturday morning! Weeee!
  13. Happy Easter! Bloodies and brunch with my fam and Bryan's family!
  14. Bryan and I with Aly and Sloan
  15. My favorite nieces and me 
  16. Sloanie B. and me
Oh, and one mintor detail I left out: KU lost on Friday night. By two points. In overtime. They were up the whole game. All they needed to do was make a layup to tie it up and go into double overtime. They missed. I was (and am still) slightly bitter.

There's always next year. XX's and OO's!

Mingle 240
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30 Before 30

As we learned in September when I turned 29, I am a birthday snob. If I could celebrate my birthday every day, I would. Obviously, my next birthday will be celebrating the big 3-0. The dirty 30, if you will. - Happy Anniversary of Your 29th Birthday.

I'm actually OK with turning 30. There seems to be a stigma around it, like it's SO much older than 29, and I get it—I just don't feel that way. I have loved my 20s—LOVED THEM. But I'm OK with getting older. At 29, I have a stable career that I enjoy, a husband I adore, friends I can't live without. I have all of my family within a 3-hour radius, I'm healthy. There's nothing I feel like I "haven't done" in my 20s that I'm losing my opportunity to do, but I do have some things I'd like to cross of the list.

All this to say, I have been meaning to put this post together for awhile (like since September) but it's taken me awhile compile the following list: 30 Things to Achieve Before I Turn 30.

Some are big, some are small, some are more important than others. Also, since I've been working on this list for awhile now, I'm able to cross some off already :)

1. Complete a Tough Mudder  (Check it out!)
2. Lose 5 pounds
3. Read 50 books
4. Start writing my own book
5. Reach 250 blog followers
6. Get a promotion
7. Pay off all debt except mortgage
8. Pay for someone's meal anonymously
9. Travel to 5 new places 
(I completed this goal in Europe, but plan for several more trips before September!)
10. Eat something I'd never normally order
(Also achieved in Europe when I tried duck & veal liver. As in, the livers of both. Post to come.)
11. Host a party
12. Be featured on Taylor's The Browse Blog
13. Redesign the blog
14. Be nominated for a Rock Star award at my company
15. Drink beer in Belgium (See here!)
16. Go to Green Bay Packer's game
17. Visit Ashley in California
18. Throw an amazing bachelorette party for my bestie!
19. Go to 3 concerts
20. Cook 3-4 times per week
21. Get a massage
22. Paint something (post to come!)
23. Make 2 new friends
24. Drink wine in wine country
25. Meet at least 2 bloggers in person
26. Don't drink Diet Coke for a month 
(in progress. Thanks, Lent!)
27. Disconnect from all social media for a weekend
28. Send one card to someone at least once/month, just because
29. Buy new living room furniture
30. Babies! (Technically, I want this to happen after 30...)

There you have it. Thirty things to keep me busy for the next 6 months! Can I do it?!

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In Bruges

I hate showering. That's not to say I don't do it, I do, (nearly) every day. It's just annoying. That being said, I find that I write the best blogs, in my head, in the shower. I should start bringing a tape recorder into the shower every day and just recording my thoughts. (Disclaimer: This blog is not one such post I wrote in the shower.)

Speaking of not showering, let's go back to Europe--more specifically, my favorite part of our trip to Europe: Belgium. Not necessarily the country, in particular, but Bruges.

When we were planning our trip, we originally planned to spend one day/night in Brussels, but literally everyone we talked to told us to skip the big city and see Bruges. And boy are we glad we did.

Bruges, to quote the movie (In Bruges), is a fairytale town. It's seriously hard to put into words, but it was just magical. It was like stepping back in time. If you've never been to Europe, I think Bruges is the town you see when you imagine it: Cobblestone streets, chocolatiers, main squares, quaint buildings, canals, french fries, and of course, beer. The beer in this place...I'll get there.

Walking into the city market square.

Authentic, delicious lunch. And first of many beers.

Church of our Lady Tower in the Market Square. The Christmas festival, including ice skating, was set up in the square.

The Provinciaal Hof

In the Market Square & Chocolatier - I wish you could smell it through the computer.

Cutest building ever? Cutest street sign ever?

On the canal.

And here we are at the most fantastic part of the day. As we were walking along the canal, I spotted this cool looking tree that reminded us of something out of a Dr. Seuss book. Naturally, I took a picture, and we kept walking. We were on the hunt for a warm bar where we could sit and relax for awhile. 

Dr. Seuss, amiright? 

So, we round the corner and see people flooding out of a long hallway. A glance inside showed us perhaps the most wonderful sight we ever did see.

As we walked deeper into the hallway, we found that it turned into a bar/tasting room with hundreds--HUNDREDS of different beers.

Bryan was in heaven.

Unable to choose, I opted for a beer champagne (hello, when do I ever turn down champs?) and a blonde Belgium, while Bryan got a Delirium Christmas flavor. Excited with our purchases, we looked for a place to sit. EUREKA! A table opened up outside, with  perfect little view of the canal. And EUREKA again--it was the tree that we loved! It's like it was fate/love at first sight. Though it was a bit chilly, that didn't stop of us from sitting on that patio and drinking like it was 85 degrees out. We didn't want to leave.

Our view of the canal from our spot.

Our tree & me :)

By then, it was getting dark, so we decided to head back into Brussels and see if we could top our day. (We didn't, but of course we still had fun.)
Regretfully leaving Bruges.

Back in Brussels, there was yet another Christmas Market going on, so we walked around, watched some cool light shows, and by then, we were freezing and wet, so we popped into a cozy little bar for a nightcap and cheese plate before heading back to the hotel.

So that was Belgium. If I can give any advice, put Bruges on your bucket list. You will thank me!

                                                                 Helene in Between
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Remember When I Went to Europe?

So, after we got back from Europe in January, I had grand plans of writing a post about each country/city we visited: Paris, Bruges, Brussels, Nice, Amsterdam & Interlaken. I only got through Paris and half of Nice.

But, now I've been given a reason to continue sharing my stories thanks to Helene. So let's travel back in time.

The date: January 3, 2013. The location: Nice, France.

The most wonderful thing about Nice, aside from being beautiful, having amazing food, and being right on water, is that it's so close to so many places. In one day, you could visit Italy, Monaco and France, all in one train ride. And that's exactly what we did—almost.

We hopped on the train and headed East. First stop: Menton. Menton is about the farthest East you can go on the train before you get to Ventimiglia, Italy. It was a beautiful town, but in retrospect, would have been more fun to visit when the weather was warm. That didn't stop us from having lunch on the boardwalk, enjoying a drink and soaking up some sun.

After we wandered the city, we got back on the train and headed West. Next stop: Monte Carlo. Full disclosure: We only stopped in Monte Carlo so that we could we say we went there.

Fun facts: Monaco has the highest number of millionaires and billionaires per capita, the lowest poverty rate, lowest employment rate (0%),  and the highest life expectancy (90 year old).

We walked the coast, explored the shopping areas, and of course, went to see the famous Le Grand Casino de Monte Carlo. We didn't go into it, as we were sure we were not classy enough to be allowed in, but we went to the poor man's casino where we promptly lost 20 euro, and left.


Back on the train we went. Next stop: Èze.

Èze eze awesome.

View of the sea walking through the village.

It's a charming hilltop village overlooking a high cliff (1,401 ft) above sea level on the French Mediterranean. The view is like, jaw-droppingly beautiful. 

The famous fountain in Eze. Until 1900, all water for the residents of Eze had to be hauled by man 
or beast up to the hilltop village. This is the town's only public fountain.

And the town itself is so quaint - cobblestone streets, and local perfumeries and art galleries run rampant. 

Bryan and I sat on the patio of this cute hotel for hours, drinking cafe and Coca-Cola Light. We couldn't stop talking about how amazing this city was. 

After our lovely day trip(s), we went to the best.dinner.ever. The restaurant was Le Maquis. Super small - the kitchen was upstairs -  barrels for tables, chalkboard menus, and since we had to wait, they gave us complimentary champagne as an apertif. Um, OK. After a short wait, we were seated and offered the menu, which changes frequently based on what's fresh. B got prawns on a bed of risotti, and I got "fried" chicken, which was stuffed with cheese and some type of olive tapenade. My mouth is literally watering as I remember it. These pictures do no justice.

And there you have it. folks, Nice was fabulous, probably my favorite region we visited on our whole trip. Have you ever been? What did you love?

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