- GG got some bad news at the end of March and April started a new and hopefully ultimately positive and exciting chapter of our lives/year.
- We did Easter Brunch with my family at our current favorite local brunch spot (those Eggs Benedict, mmm!), followed by Easter Dinner with GG’s family, which, like most holidays, was a lot of food for one day!
- Celebrated National Cheese Fondue Day at The Melting Pot; I signed up for their “fondue club” or whatever, and learned of a special member deal they were doing. I do love me some cheese…
- Spent a very hipster night out in Philly to celebrate GG’s friend’s birthday – we went to Barcade, Johnny Brenda’s, and Frankford Hall. Because it was the first gorgeous weekend day of the year, these places were all packed. If nothing else, Frankford Hall totally sold me on building my own fire pit at home ASAP.
- GG took his annual plane trip to visit friends out of state, and I stayed home and enjoyed having the place to myself for a week ;o)
- We saw TMBG in Philly!! I know, the last time we saw them at the TLA we decided we were too old (or their new child fans were too inconsiderate and unaware), but we decided to give it another try. We actually had a decent time. It was “An Evening With TMBG,” so there was no opening act, just two long TMBG sets. They played a lot of their new Dial-A-Song tunes, but it turns out that “Glean” is a great album, and they meshed well with their other classic songs. Stage banter was fabulous – I was so glad there were no sock puppets! But I loved the phone calls from Mama and Papa TMBG (including callbacks to earlier jokes, like a warehouse full of all the rats’ asses they don’t give about flash photography). We met up with a guy GG knows while we were waiting in line, so we had someone else to chat with. There were a few annoying kids (like, teenagers, and actual kids who were there with their parents even though this was explicitly not a kids’ show), but all-in-all, it was a good night. This was my 13th TMBG show!
- Went to a breast cancer fundraiser/fashion show with my breast cancer survivor friend J :o) It was a really nice venue, nice set-up and decor, little bar when you came in, the fashion show was fun, good raffle prizes, etc. but, we were told there would be brunch. They finally served everyone a small wedge of quiche and a handful of lettuce leaves, and… that was it. They collected our plates and there was nothing more. Everyone at our table was like, “Was that it?” (They did eventually release us for cookies and coffee/tea :o/)
- I read Growing Up Duggar and tweeted my thoughts as I went through it. If you are a fan (or anti-fan) of the Duggars and don’t follow me on Twitter, you’re really missing out. I have a bunch of followers who basically like me just for my Tuesday night live commentary of the show.
This has been a really tough month, understandably, but it’s had ups and downs. Some of the ups:
- Had a nice off-season trip to OCMD with GG and his family to attend a hotel and restaurant convention (aka: excuse to eat and drink all the samples). We found a nice new (to me) restaurant down there, Hooked. And it was nice to just get away for a few days.
- Went to a middle school play… The play itself was cute, but the real highlight for me was my band friend C yelling at the rude middle school boys next to us during the intermission, then ending with a threat, “You don’t know who I am, but I know who you are, and I’ll see you when you get to high school!”
- Had another great event for my second side business! I’d been working with this hostess for months, and she just did not have any confidence in herself – so it made me so happy to see what a great turnout and event she had, and how that made her feel better about herself, too!
- And of course … the new guy. I’ll have to write more about him later.
Highlights of the month:
- Rang in the new year on the couch with GG, my BIL, and his girlfriend.
- Have been very angry at the new coffee makers they put in our kitchens at work (supposedly an “improvement,” but coffee mugs don’t fit in them, and if you’re a tea drinker like me, just getting hot water is a pain).
- Maybe that doesn’t matter since I never made it to work for a full day all month – thanks, endless snowstorms!
- I finally used the cart escalator at our new Target! (I am probably there an average of once a week, but maybe that’s the problem: I never got enough in one trip that I needed to use a cart.)
- Made our annual trip to the Pennsylvania Farm Show with L and S. We’re old pros at this now, and know the areas to focus on, e.g. the food hall (for that early morning milkshake before the lines get too long), wine tasting booths, and the aisles of food vendors. We also learned a lot of about nuts and tree grafting, and bought a ton of stuff. (Blind Spot Nut Butters are fabulous, try the Sea Salt Caramel!)
- Had a terrible experience with Ideel.com and cannot dis-recommend them enough! Why would you let me buy something you don’t actually have? And then not tell me when the order couldn’t go through? And then let me buy it again? And then tell me it was shipping soon when you were never even going to have the item? Oh well, it probably wouldn’t have fit me, anyway. But I will never be shopping there again.
- After a long time on my wish list, I finally bought a spiralizer. Love it! I’ve been spiralizing everything.
- Went to the Philadelphia Home Show and saw Josh and Brent, the Beekman Boys! GG even ended up really liking the talk they gave on what they’ve learned about life from raising their goats. (Also, in person, they are exactly like they were on their show.)
- After three years, Ivan finally figured out how to get into the basket under my office window! Now Sacha has some competition for his favorite sleeping spot.
- Celebrated the official launch of my second side business I’ve been working since August!
- My Christmas gift from GG was a gift card to one of our favorite restaurants. What I didn’t know was that he made plans for a limo to drive us there and home! (And while I kind of wish I had known in advance that our plans were set in stone, it was super sweet of him and really fun!)
- I helped organize an Ugly Sweater / Second Annual Cookie Bake-Off party at work – it was a success! My rosemary butter cookies came in a respectable second place (that new Kitchenaid mixer helped!); one relatively new colleague went all out with super cute cookies and the only ugly sweater of the day; and I played Fay’s 12 Days of Christmas on a loop for background ambiance.
- I got a cute haircut that has gotten me more compliments than any other haircut I’ve gotten as an adult. And you know I usually do one big chop once a year and then let it grow, so it’s not like people haven’t seen me with shorter hair before, but I’m really getting a lot of feedback about this one.
- Did a couple more vendor events for my second side biz. I’m glad I was able to get the name out there, but boy do I hate doing these shows! So glad “vendor season” is over for me!
- Did my minimal Christmas decorating, which actually seems to grow slightly each year. I am now up to: small tree (with ornaments), a couple doo-dads sitting in the living room, ornaments in dining room centerpiece, holiday towels and soap in powder room.
- We hosted our second annual holiday party for our friends. Remember last year when I surprised GG by hiring a clown? This year I got The Grinch!! It was also our second annual Battle of the Dips; winners included pumpkin dip, hoagie dip, and salmon dip. The winners received weird sex shop novelties as their prizes! Next year’s party is going to have a lot to live up to…
- We saw John Mulaney at the Troc (with opening act Seaton Smith)! As usual, I was pretty much in tears by the end of his set. Fabulous. Also, we found a new place near the theater for dinner, GG is kind of obsessed with it now…
- Took a day off with MB and A to do all the most Christmassy stuff in Philadelphia: Comcast show, Macy’s show, Love Park Christmas village, lunch at DiBruno Brothers, a train ride there and back, and of course a gift exchange :o)
- Went to a live nativity/Christmas Eve service at a friend’s church. I think she was super excited to recruit us for the church, but really I just wanted to see the animals on stage (and also they had a good band, which GG liked). It was nice, but we’re not going to be regular churchgoers anytime soon.
- Celebrated Christmas first with my family, then with GG’s. For Christmas lunch at our place, we had a great spread, including a great pomegranite and lime sangria, perfect red and green for Christmas!
- Took another trip into Philly during our week off to have lunch at Rosa Blanca and check out the Constitution Center (kind of on a whim).
- My holiday break home improvement project this year: painted a bedroom a gorgeous turquoise/teal color. It’s really dramatic and I love it!
- Went to a Halloween party with GG and some friends – we dressed as a cat and a ball of yarn! One of my other favorite couple costumes there was Miss Frizzle and the Magic School Bus!
- Celebrated my BIL’s b-day with a decadent dinner at the Capital Grille.
- Took Ivan back to the vet because he pulled his stitches open and kept licking his incision :o( So he got antibiotics, and ointment, and a cone! (But he hates the cone.)
- My work BFF J had her breast cancer surgery and she is already doing amazing! She asked everyone to wear pink for her, so I organized a bunch of people at work to wear pink and take a group photo to send her.
- Had a fun girls night out (first one in like 2 years)!
- We had a house guest for a week, which was actually really nice.
- Did some Socials and events for my second side biz! It’s definitely keeping me busy… Making lots of great connections, though!
- Had a crazy Thanksgiving dinner with my in-laws.
- We saw Foxcatcher. It was mega creepy. Channing Tatum and especially Mark Ruffalo were great and really dead-on accurate.
- Went to Friendsgiving at MB and A’s – now an annual tradition the Saturday after Thanksgiving :o)
- Added a new member to my team for my second side biz, and helped her launch!
- Also did a bunch of activities and events for both of my side jobs… Very busy!
- Went to my first Miche party (very dangerous for a purse addict such as myself…)
- We found a little bump under the skin on Ivan’s tummy, right in his favorite spot for scratching – it felt like a little marble. The vet thought it might be a tumor, and if it was, it would be fast-growing, so we had it removed. Good news – it was a benign hemangioma! They removed it all, and it will not grow back :o)
- Saw Gone Girl with my grandmom and my friend J, both of whom I’d gotten to read the book. The movie was great! Just as good (and frustrating) as the novel…
- Had a beautiful, warm day for Homecoming at MU! It’s always nice to hang out with my college friends (mostly L and S, who we meet there every year), and fun to see how things change from year to year. This year we were able to get a tour of one of the fancy new dorms they’ve built! (Soon all our old dorms will be torn down and replaced by these things.) Private bathrooms! (I still don’t understand how they expect college kids to be responsible for keeping these things clean, but whatever…) And they have a late-night campus food truck now?!
- Went to the Ren Faire with L and S! Another lovely day! We did our usual activities (pickle on a stick, the falconer, the Circus Stella acrobats…), and some new things (glassblowing demo, paraffin wax hand treatment…). And our friend J works there, so it’s fun to get to visit with her, too!
- When I got home from the Ren Faire, there was an amazing gift waiting for me! A magical fairy had stopped by and left me a KitchenAid mixer! (The exact one I wanted!) …Ok, it was my mom, and it was sort of a thank-you gift for helping out with some stuff the previous week, and we’d been talking (for years!) about how I wanted one, but that was still extremely generous of her!
- As usual, we gave out full-sized candy bars for Halloween this year. We sat out on our porch, but for some reason, some kids were scared to even come up to the house…?
- Had my first real event for my second side business! …Did not go exactly the way I expected, but was good…
- Then had my own combination side biz event/birthday party/house stuff reveal, which was great! Very good turnout, and I know everyone had a nice time :o) Also, potted mums are apparently peoples’ go-to gift for me…
- …And had a ton more events for both of my side gigs! (One event had hula dancers performing at it!)
- Went out for a really nice birthday dinner with GG at Wedge + Fig. I just found this place and I love it! We sat in their cute little courtyard and ate some fabulous food: cheese plate, bacon wrapped dates, salad, and a side of their famous mac & cheese (which you can also get in the form of a pie with a bacon-lattice top)! We were right next to the back window of the restaurant, looking into the kitchen, which was actually kind of cool because I love to watch chefs working. At one point this guy who’d been sitting near us came over and was asking what we thought of the food, etc. – turned out he was an owner!
- We saw The Book of Mormon! When I heard it was coming to Philly, I suggested that we go – then my friend J told me she had tickets (they subscribe for the year), but correctly predicted that she would have just given birth before the date of the show, so I bought hers! It was a matinee show, so GG and I had brunch first at Garces Trading Company, then walked over to the theater. By a couple songs in, our mouths were hanging open in disbelief! We loved it! It was hilarious! And really, it was not mean-spirited toward Mormons or any other religion, it was just a sweet story. (I told J that if it came back to town, I would babysit so she and B could go.)
- Saw Cynic in Philly! Disappointingly, Paul never stopped to talk about auras or do yoga on stage or anything…
- GG and I had a really crazy Saturday where we spent the morning at this Pennhurst Asylum “open house” thing with a bunch of ghost hunters and ghost photographers. I don’t watch any of those ghost hunting shows, otherwise maybe I would’ve been more impressed with the special guests there. Pennhurst is generally closed to the public, so I guess it was a neat opportunity to see certain parts of it. But we left early to go to the Goshenhoppen Festival. My mom used to take me and my brother to this when we were kids. It was a little smaller than I remembered, but neat, and I think GG had a good, wholesome time :o)
- We went to Shady Maple for GG’s birthday – my treat! (You get in free on your b-day…) It’s been a while since we’ve been there for a birthday, they now give you a birthday stack of coupons for their various shops. My favorite one was for the quilt store, it was for 20% off anything, excluding quilts. We also discovered that the Farm Market (really a supermarket) is amazing – almost worth driving out there just to do our grocery shopping!
- I started a new business!!! I know I already have one side business but this was an amazing opportunity I could not pass up – joining from Day 1 with a new company is actually the sister of an established one (so they know what they’re doing as far as manufacturing, shipping, technology, etc. – it’s not just some lady in her basement going, “I’m going to sell some jewelry”). And most importantly, I love the product and what it’s about!
- MB and A came to visit and we went to the zoo! I was last there when baby R was just a brand new baby, so it was fun seeing her there now that she’s a little girl!
- Spending Labor Day weekend alone (as usual) but I have Every Simpsons Ever!
This year’s Conference was so much nicer than last year’s. I liked the way things were organized better, I was with a better group of people, and we were in a better city. I’m not even going to talk about the conference itself, because, whatever. The highlights of the trip for me took place outside of the events!
- We drove from Philly to Columbus, OH with only one bathroom stop (and we only stopped because it was the last rest stop for like 60 miles, and I guess we figured better safe than sorry – I think a lot of other ladies on their way to Conference had the same idea).
- I got to meet up with my friend K from elementary school – she is with the company too! I had dinner with her and her family (who were traveling with her to visit relatives) and some of my other friends at a neat spot near our hotel.
- Major highlight!! I met my blog friend D for the first time ever, after 10+ years of online friendship! She was shorter than I expected, lol! It was awesome to see her, though, and of course we were just talking like old friends (which we are, so..).
- The North Market in Columbus is awesome. It’s like a more manageable Reading Terminal Market. We had multiple meals there over the course of the week, since it’s across the street from the conference center.
- My friend/roommate E and I had had a long day one day and never really got dinner. So we walked over to Dirty Frank’s, which was near our hotel. On the way there, we passed another woman from our conference (we could tell, because she had her badge still on). She said, “I shouldn’t be walking here by myself this late, could I just walk with you over to Dirty Frank’s?” and we were like, “We’re going to Dirty Frank’s, come eat with us!” So we ended up having a great time! Then the next morning, we were lining up early to get in to the next conference session, and guess who was in line next to us? Same lady, with her group of friends! We’re totally going to keep in touch, she was really lovely.
- The last night we were in town, the OSU marching band was performing in a park near our hotel! It was a ticketed event, but I walked over and stood outside the gate with some fellow band nerds who were in town for Conference :o)
- The entire city of Columbus really did “roll out the pink carpet,” everyone was happy to see us everywhere and it was just a really great experience!
I’m sure I’ve forgotten some things, but those were the main highlights. We’re already planning our return trip next year! I hope next year I’m able to see more of some of the different areas of the town and try some other restaurants and stuff (it’s hard when you’re traveling with one very picky eater and one person who can’t eat much or walk far due to a medical condition).
This has been an extremely busy summer, due to some things that were going on personally, and some things going on at home. I actually apologized to the owner of my gym the last time I saw her – all my free time has been spent on these other projects, so I’ve been lucky to get there just once a week for yoga!
At work, I’m on this committee meant to plan team meetings, and provide engagement opportunities for the people in our department. (I call it the Party Planning Committee, but it’s actually more involved than that.) We had a quarterly all-site videoconference at the end of June, and someone had the idea that I should make a viral video to illustrate these virtual meeting best practices we’d come up with. Also, we wanted to do a potluck lunch on-site the same day, and guess who was in charge of organizing that? Well, both tasks went great! I wrote up a general script but had an amazing team of actors who really put their own spin on things and made the video hilarious! I took a couple days to edit it, and everyone loved it! Our potluck was also a really nice time, and everyone said it was one of the better “networking” activities we’ve done. And, with my friend JK about to go out on maternity leave, we threw a little baby shower for her, which was also a hit!
For the first time in a long time, I was free on the 4th of July, so J and R came out with their boys and checked out the little carnival my town had set up this year. We didn’t stay for the fireworks, but the weather was beautiful and I really just wanted some funnel cake. Plus it was nice to hang out with friends, and baby J is so cute! (A woman passing by as I held him said, “Oh he is such a little bubble!”)
GG and I had the opportunity to go to New York City for the day – then the opportunity didn’t work out, but we decided to go up anyway! I get free admission to a bunch of museums and stuff thanks to my employer, so we took the subway, walked through Central Park, spent a few hours at the Met Museum, and then got dinner at a place I found online, Cafe D’Alsace (surprisingly generous cheese portions!), before going back through the park, getting the subway back to the bus, the bus back to the car, and driving home. It was a little warm, but overall a really nice day.
Not content with one cheese board in a week, we took the train in to Philly a couple days later to use up the rest of the Tria gift card GG gave me for Christmas. This time we went to their Wash West location, and I think I like it more than the Rittenhouse one! It’s just as easy to get to from the train (maybe easier) and slightly larger and less cramped. Also they have a waiter who looks like Dave Navarro (?).
In the next couple weeks, a lot of the craziness should be over… until new craziness begins, I’m sure. But hopefully we’ll at least get to enjoy the end of our summer!