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!

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Weekend Update: Productivity Defined

It's the end of the my favorite weekend of all time: The first weekend of March Madness. You may or may not know, I'm a Kansas alumni, so of course I love college basketball. But my love for it goes beyond KU: There's just something about the camaraderie of the tournament. Teams work their asses off to make it to "the dance," and once they're there anything can happen. Filling out brackets brings out a healthy competition among friends, co-workers and family. Emotions are high. Cheering for the underdog fun, but not as fun as cheering for a winning team.

And this is how my weekend started. I took the afternoon off on Friday, as I have in the past few years on the first Friday of the tournament. The goal: Watch basketball. KU didn't play until 8:50pm though, so from 2:30 until about 8pm, I did something I don't usually do: I paced myself. After a long, yet fun, and stressful (only b/c KU was playing like crap), evening, this a summary of Friday:

Saturday: For someone who spent the previous day drinking for about 10 hours, I had no business feeling as good as I did on Saturday morning. Determined not to be a hungover piece of s**t all day, I slept in and did a few household chores before venturing out for my first outdoor run of the season. It was slightly warm, at about 38 degrees (ugh), but the sun was shining and I was ready. I ran about 1.5 miles through Lincoln Square, my favorite neighborhood in the city that happens to be just North of our house. Of course, on my way back, I ran past one of my favorite little shops and stopped in to buy a birthday gift for my girlfriend. I spent about 30 minutes longer than intended, but can you blame me?
A few gems from the store.

I couldn't decide which sign to get. Off I ran home, and basically straight to my car. As you can see from the looks of our fridge, we needed groceries, so off to Target I went. 2 hours, $200 later, we were set with food and I was set with two new skirts and shirt. :) After a quick shower, we headed out to dinner to celebrate a girlfriend's birthday, which was followed up by Prosecco & dancing. Next thing we knew, it was 2am and time to head home.

Sunday: Although I woke with a champagne headache, it was nothing a big breakfast couldn't cure. All I really wanted to do was curl up and relax the rest of the day to make up for how active I was on Saturday, but no: Spring Cleaning awaited. Three hours later, the kitchen, living room and bathrooms were sparkling. Nothing is better than a clean house, amIright? 
I had about an hour before the KU game started, and relax I didn't - I went to the gym. This is major news, guys, as I typically do not work out on Sunday. I'm not sure what's gotten into me, but I am trying to lose some weight before this summer, so you gotta do what you've gotta do. KU pulled out a win after a horrible first half, I painted my digits, and we enjoyed some buffalo chicken that I had cooking all day. It was delish! (Get the recipe here.) And now, here I sit, enjoying a glass of wine and watching Revenge.

Next weekend, I'm off to Iowa City for Easter!

Tell me about your weekend!

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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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Weekend Update: St. Patty's Smackdown

It's Monday. Yaaaay.

I've gotta keep this weekend update short and sweet, loves. Mostly because my weekend consisted of a lot of drinking and not a lot of picture taking. And when I wasn't drinking, I was laying in bed. Around 9pm last night, my husband told me it was nice to see me out of the bedroom. I had only gotten up to tell him I was going to sleep.

Friday night, I kicked off the weekend with happy hour with my co-workers, and I also watched the Big 12 Semifinals, where KU advanced. Obviously. No pictures to share.

On Saturday morning, was St. Patty's/St.Paddy's celebration in Chicago. They dye the river green, there's a huge parade downtown and just about every bar is serving green beer. Shockingly, I didn't consume one green beer the entire weekend, but I was OK with that.

For the first year, we had a very loose agenda on how we'd spend Saturday. In years past, there have been huge groups and plans made weeks in advance, but this year, no one seemed really in the "spirit" of things. Mr. and I headed to my girlfriend's house Saturday morning for some brunch and pregaming. He was not happy to find that he was the only male there, but in my defense, I didn't know this would be the case. I was told there might not be A LOT of men there, but I didn't know that would mean NO men there. Thankfully, B can just roll with most things, so as long as he had a beer, he was good.

After that, we headed to Southport Lanes, which is a bowling alley/bar. It's actually a pretty fun place, with a huge game room with pool, darts, etc., and the bowling alley is a small space with just 4 lanes. It also has manual pins, so things took a little longer if you actually wanted to play. It was nice though, a friend of a friend had rented out the whole "alley" part of the bar and it was $45 all you can drink. Godo stuff, too, which is why I didn't consume any green beer. We played a game of bowling — I got more than one strike, thank you very much — before we headed to a house party.

I'm still not clear who's house we were at, but all I know is that it was a super nice condo, there was a crap ton of people there and things got real hazy around 7pm, so the Mr. and I headed home to order pizza.

Sunday, there is nothing of note to report (see bed reference above), but B did take Addy to get groomed in the morning and she came back smelling and looking pretty.

I'm happy to report, I followed all my own rules (except #3) and I survived another St. Patty's.

How did ya'll celebrate?

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