Thursday, February 25, 2010

Weekend in NYC

Last weekend was amazing. I won't get into my crazy-awful reaction to NY in a matter of hours; instead I'll focus on how wonderful our friends and family are.
Friday morning we had an early flight into JFK and arrived in NYC around 2:00.

Mike at O'Hare

We got to my friend Robert's place where he (and his 3 giants pups) greeted us. That evening, we took Rob and his partner Craig (pup-owner extraordinaire) out to dinner at our fave restaurant Nelson Blue. I broke my purported veganism that evening by eating their famously delicious green-lipped mussels - and don't regret a bite! We also ran into Mike's buddy and former band-mate Eric there, because NYC really is a small world. From there we walked over to the Sea-horse for some cocktails. If you're a fan of Cowgirl Hall of Fame, you won't be disappointed with Sea-horse (same owners). And maybe you'll be as lucky as we were and have the coolest, saltiest bartenderess in all of the city.

Saturday Mike ran around buying stuff for the party while Robert and I trekked to Brooklyn. We were officially on my first bridal gown shopping excursion, and I had made an appointment at Kimera on Atlantic Avenue. Now - I had very little by way of expectation for this shop only because I was treating it as a reconnaissance mission. I just thought, "oh, here's a nice way to get my feet wet with all of this gown nonsense." I had, however, also heard wonderful things about the designer's work and that she was able to make custom-made gowns for ridiculously reasonable prices. So I went in with a couple of photos I had found online of other brides that had their dresses made at Kimera. After about 30 minutes of chatting, looking at fabrics, designs, sashes, and various other accoutrements, I left feeling really good about the designer, the shop, and the potential of getting my dress there. I will leave it at that.

Finally - Saturday night! Party night!
We invited 30-40 people to Robert's place for an informal engagement party - although we really just wanted an excuse to see everyone we had been missing. Robert & Craig provided the vino and liquor, my buddy Jeremiah provided the delicious food (from his restaurant - Mama's Food Shop), and I made some vegan chocolate peanut butter cups.

Hitting the bubbly and waiting for the party

Our dear friend Liz (and the lass responsible for introducing Mike and I)

Greg (Liz's husband and an awesome friend) and Roberto (our host and also our celebrant!)

Craig (Robert's partner and our wonderful host)

Yay! Probably the only time we sat down that night

Liz and I

Sweet Angela all the way from Tennessee (and my MOH!) and my wonderful friend Tracey

Newlyweds Sarah and Todd, and Julian

Friends from high school! Who would have thought they'd be at my engagement party after 20 wonderful!

The crew from WMA

Mike and I and the girls from high school (Clara & Shira)

The morning after, and the wine we somehow transported back to Chicago

Slate (one of the three wonderful mascots from our weekend)

Stone on his throne (with Craig)

Stone, Slate & Boulder

Exhausted...and flying home

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

NYC or bust

This weekend Mike and I are headed to NYC for an informal engagement party and TO SEE OUR FRIENDS AND FAMILY! (or mine at least).
I'm super excited to see everyone - my wonderful friend Robert is hosting both us for the weekend and the party on Saturday. And did I mention that we've asked him to marry us? He is my oldest and dearest friend, and it means so much that he will be performing the ceremony after 20+ years of love and friendship.
The beautiful Angela (and maid/matron/mumu/mermaid of honor) is traveling in from Knoxville, TN to be there - which is a huge gesture considering she's leaving her 2 sweet little girls and wonderful husband at home for the weekend.
My buddy Jeremiah is providing food from his restaurant Mama's, and I'll be cooking a couple of vegan dishes to balance out the hearty, decadent goodness of Mama's food.
Oh...and I'm going on my first wedding dress shopping experiment on Saturday before the party. I'm calling it an experiment because I HAVE ABSOLUTELY NO IDEA WHAT TO EXPECT and cannot believe I'm actually shopping for a wedding dress. Holy s@#t!!!
Luckily I'll be joined by Robert and Angela and we're visiting Kimera, which I've heard wonderful things about. I'm trying not to have any expectations and just have it be a fun introduction to this crazy experience.
See you next week!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Shout out

Got a lovely note from my friend Steven in Welly who remembered my blog after all these years. Now that I know a least one person checks it out, it's added incentive to write more. Yay!
There's this weird filtering system in my head that automatically nixes any idea I have to blog about, since "no one could really be interested in that" - so I'm trying to turn that bit off.

Here's what's been happening:
1- Yesterday - got at least one foot of snow and a small earthquake this morning.
2- Getting ready for my last Ethical Leadership class next week. Interesting turn of events: a small exercise from our instructor turned into a class donation of $125 to Kiva, which I orchestrated. We have turned that into 5 micro-loans to small business owners in Benin, the Philippines, Senegal, Nicaragua, and Sierra Leone.
3- Italian is going swimmingly, although it's getting really hard to motivate myself to go on Saturday afternoons.
4- The wedding - coming along. Sent our contract in for Heritage Prairie Farm yesterday, and are trying to find photographers. Correction: cheap photographers. Ugh.
    We've got our registries ironed out: Traveler's Joy for our honeymoon registry (who will donate a percentage to Oxfam at no additional cost to anyone) and Bed, Bath, and Beyond for the traditionalists who want to buy us stuff.
5- Going to NYC in a week and a half!!!! So excited to see everyone. :)

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Idealist has been a major help with me doing research for grad school and trying to find work in the nonprofit sector. Apparently, however, they don't survive on vapors alone and need our help. Please try to donate if you can...