Monday, June 27, 2016

Teenie and Ryan Wedding Weekend

This past weekend was another one for the record books. I spent Friday through Sunday in the windy city of Chicago celebrating the marriage of another one of my best friends since elementary school, Teenie.

Last summer while in Boston for Meaghan’s bachelorette party, I was shocked and excited when Teenie invited us all to be a part of her bridal party for her wedding to Ryan, this past weekend. We had been having such a fun couple of years with wedding celebrations for all my best friends and it meant so much to be to be asked to be a part of the next one.

Living in Atlanta now, it makes it harder for me to be able to travel to get to every event I want to be at, so I unfortunately was not able to attend the bridal shower this spring. However, the bachelorette party was a great celebration of the bride and had me so excited leading up to this weekend.

I flew into Chicago early on Friday morning, head over and dropped my things off at the hotel, and immediately went out for a run. It was a hot but totally beautiful day in Chicago and I ran along the riverfront with a view of the skyline, breaking my own rules I have for myself, and stopping periodically to take pictures.

Immediately, I was feeling so nostalgic about being back in Chicago, as the last time I was here was for the marathon in the fall. Being in Chicago was reminding what an incredible weekend that was and seriously, what an amazing city Chicago is to run in. There is not much that gets better than running with this beautiful and incredibly unique skyline and the blue lakeshore and riverwalk. I seriously fall more in love with the city every time I go.

After my quick run and Chicago love fest, I showered and changed and head out to meet my friends for a lunch with the bridesmaids. We ate at a delicious tapas restaurant called Cafe Ba Ba Reeba, that I actually ate at the last time I went to Chicago! The food and sangria is great so I was not unhappy with the opportunity to eat there again. Nor did I mind the hour or so we spent pampering ourselves following lunch with bridesmaid manicures and pedicures. If only I could spend every Friday this way.

The rehearsal dinner was at another delicious and fun restaurant called Howells & Hood, where I got to spend more time with my ladies and their husbands, as well as catch up with other friends and family friends I hadn’t seen in a long time. My other friends who got married, E and Meaggie, both had older siblings and older cousins who I knew at their weddings. Teenie is the oldest in her family, which means that her younger brothers (one of whom I hung out with in San Diego a few years ago!) and younger cousins are people I feel like I have known since they were babies and seen grow up. Adding that some of her cousins were my neighbors and went to the same pool club, I knew them all well and it was fun and exciting to see everyone grown up!

I have some amazing people in my life and my girl friends are certainly some of them. The night before the wedding we had some really special moments and it makes me so happy to have so many years of memories between us and such strong understandings of one another. We don’t talk every day, we only get to spend a handful of moments and days together each year (except for the lucky girls who are now all temporarily Boston based!), and I may not have their day-to-day whereabouts in my radar, but our connection and understanding and acceptance of one another really means so much.

Saturday came way too early for me as I was up at 5:30 a.m. to head out on a run at 6:00 a.m. I had 10 miles scheduled to run on Saturday morning and I knew I had limited time to fit it in. The sun rose at 5:15 am in Chicago on Saturday (wow!) so it was nice and bright at 6:00 a.m. and unfortunately it was super hot and humid as well.

I hadn’t anticipated a super humid and hot run, thinking that it would be cooler in the mornings being north. I didn’t plan to bring any nutrition with me, so by the finish I was pretty parched and ready to be done. It was an eventful run from start to finish with lots of interesting people watching, other runners out, beautiful views, and also a few scary events that had my heart racing at points. I love city running and I am always cautious to take measures to be safe and take care of myself – but unfortunately at times, there are just creeps that you come across while out and about.

There were no pictures to be had of this run, as I darted immediately back inside to shower and head out to begin wedding day festivities – starting with hair and makeup! We went to Swerve Salon in Chicago, which did an incredible job of getting us primed and ready for the day, in a fun and relaxing environment.

I absolutely loved how my hair and makeup came out and the girls at the Salon did a fabulous job of taking care of us all.

The getting ready process is a fun one at any wedding and what’s been fun about being a part of all the ladies’ days is how different they have all been. At E’s wedding, we got ready at her home. At Meaggie’s, it was in her bridal suite. For Teenie’s, being at the salon, followed by getting dressed at the bridal suite at the Church, was really unique and beautiful.

When she walked down the aisle, it was an emotional moment for all, and I can’t lie – I cried throughout the ceremony seeing my beautiful friend join her life to the guy who has brought her so much happiness and adventure and love throughout the years. The Church was incredibly stunning, which fit the couple well. Super high ceilings, beautiful colors, and an amazing little pulpit (I think it's called) that I had to hold myself back from climbing up until after the ceremony was over.

The party began as soon as the ceremony was done with pizza, dancing, drinks and pictures as we all boarded the party bus. We traveled throughout the city taking photos and being completely silly and goofy, per usual.

My bridesmaid dress for Teenie’s wedding was really unique in that it is the first time I have worn (or seen) patterned dresses as bridesmaid dresses. They were super comfortable, I think looked great on everyone, and as we discovered, had an added bonus of being “convertible” into other dresses and styles. Maybe J. Crew wouldn’t have recommended this, but we certainly amused ourselves.

We took pictures in two different locations, one in the heart of the city and one with a really pretty view of the water and the skyline behind. I cannot wait to see the professional ones because even just the iPhone pics we snapped came out amazing.

Of course, we had to keep a tradition going that we began a few years ago of taking silly and fun photos, that include us hanging off of things. At E's wedding, we ended up hanging off a wall at the golf course (I couldn't find a picture though) and at Meaggie's wedding, we were hanging off a lamp post. Add a wall to the list, and Teenie's wedding is covered.

Amusing ourselves is never something that has been hard for us. We even found some time to get in our signature “360” move into the day, and I impressed myself with my own strength being able to attempt the “trick” – as well it – and carry two of my friends at the same time! Seriously, it’s probably best not to ask, but I just had to share these pictures! Yes, I am carrying two of my friends at the same time in that middle picture (the attempt for 3 did not go as well...)

The rest of the evening was filled with heart felt speeches, delicious food and cupcakes, catching up with friends, making new ones, beautiful views, fireworks, and lots and lots of dancing. I was so honored to be a part of Teenie and Ryan’s wedding day. I am so excited to see the beautiful adventures that are in store for them as they kick off this part of their lives. Despite being a big wedding, it felt incredibly intimate and there were so many little moments that I had with both Teenie and Ryan that I really will cherish. It was an incredible wedding and I am sad to have the weekend be in the past!!

Congratulations Courtney and Ryan, it was an honor and a BLAST to be a part of your wedding day and to be witness to your relationship over the years. The weekend meant so much to me and I love seeing all of our relationships and friendships grow stronger with every passing year. Cheers to your special day and all the special days to come!

(Last photo from Dabble Me This photography)

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Summer weekend in Atlanta

Hey guys - I miss you! Happy official summer and I hope that you all have been doing well. I think this is my biggest hiatus from blogging in a while and it's been a little bit odd for me. I have certainly had a lot going on - in training, in life, in family - but I've been doing my best to be intuitive about what is making me happy. Intuitive about eating, spending my time, getting in work outs, and writing. And lately when I have a free evening at home, I've been doing more reading or watching TV or catching up with friends than I have blogging.

I do want to get back into a rhythm though because like exercise or eating healthy, once I am in a routine it comes easier, and I am always happy I did it.

So let's start with something easy, shall we?  A weekend recap!

This past weekend was a really fun and really busy one in Atlanta. A great mix of fun, workouts, friends, and really good weather. I probably could have done for a little bit more relaxation because at the end of the weekend I felt like I needed another day of rest, but what are you going to do?

Friday evening started with double happy hours. I first met my friend Courtney from the gym at a bar by my house for happy hour. We went to Eleanor's, which is a "secret bar" or speakeasy, as some call them, in the back of a restaurant called Muss & Turner's. They've got great drinks and a fun atmosphere and we caught up about work, life, boys, and travel over drinks and some pimento cheese.

Following hanging out with Courtney, I went and met Brick at Bar Taco in West Midtown which consisted of margaritas and some tacos. The weather was absolutely beautiful and perfect for sitting outside. A lot of times it is just too darn hot in Atlanta so you have to be indoors, but this was the perfect kind of summer evening that made a margarita outside with a good friend absolutely amazing.

Instead of staying at Bar Taco, we walked down the street to check out a new wine bar that Brick had spotted and finished the night with dessert... a ridiculously decadent smores crepe that I probably should have stopped eating long before I did.

I love these types of nights and it is even better when I am home and in bed before 10:30 p.m.! At one point we both sort of looked at each other like, "Do you want another...?" with neither of us exactly wanting to be the party pooper  but both wanting to go home and go to bed. Luckily neither of us tried to play chicken and we agreed upon our oldness and went home for an early Friday night.

I'd wanted an early bedtime as I had an early morning planned to head out for a bike ride. My initial intent was to meet friends but I woke up to a text message saying that they weren't going to make it so I decided to sleep in a little bit longer.  With an extra hour of rest, I head out to Cartersville for a 45 mile ride and two mile run. I was very much not feeling the ride - and it had nothing to do with the drinks the night before. I was looking forward to riding with friends and was bummed that they cancelled and then once I got out there, the wind was CRAZY.  It was heavy winds, the kind right before a storm rolls through in the summer, the whole ride. From the very beginning I knew it was going to be tough and thought about only doing 30 miles multiple times.

Instead, I decided to let myself take some breaks and paused every 10 miles or so in order to regroup and then keep moving forward. It ended up being a really good ride and I was happy with how I felt at the end.  I finished the 3:00 hour ride with a 2 mile run where I chanted to myself over and over and over, "Two mile run, two mile run. Two mile run and you're done for the day. Done for the day, done for the day. Finish this run and you're done for the day. When you're done for the day, you're done for the day. Two mile run and you're done for the day."

I literally said this to myself over and over and over the entire time I was running. It got the trick done though and I finished up and returned back to Atlanta feeling really accomplished and happy with my pace, despite the wind and fact that I felt like I was crawling for a majority of the time!

When I got home I relaxed for a little, ate some foods, then head out for a haircut. It had been quite a while since I had gotten my hair cut and I recently realized that I desperately needed one. I have two weddings coming up and I was so excited that I was able to squeeze in the last appointment of the day on Saturday and get my hairs chopped off to be fresh and clean before being photographed a hundred million times.

The rest of the evening was spent bouncing around Atlanta. I went to a new-to-Atlanta restaurant, Tupelo Honey's, soft opening, where I got to try some of their delicious food before the general public (I love feeling special.) It was a super cute place, the food was great, and I met some really cool and interesting people. After the dinner, I met up with some friends and we all did what any grown adults would want to do on a Saturday night - saw a 9:30 p.m. showing of an animated movie, Finding Dory!

As I may have mentioned before, my uncle works at Pixar, and seeing his movies their opening weekend is something that I love to do. The movie was totally amazing and a great story that had me laughing a lot. I highly recommend and not just because I am biased (although I am)

Even though we saw a late movie, it was still a relatively early evening since I booked it home and hopped right into bed. I was pretty exhausted from the day and had another round of training on deck for the morning.

At 7:30 a.m. I met up with friends and we ran the 6-mile route of the Atlanta Peachtree Road Race. This is the race that is run from point-to-point (so it required some coordination of dropping off and picking up cars with my friends) on the 4th of July.  I will not be able to participate in the race this year, which I am pretty bummed about, so it was nice to get in some miles on the Peachtree race route. Last year was my first year running and it is downpoured rain so I was hoping to redeem myself this year, but I will have to wait until another year. It is the largest road race in the country with 60,000 runners and pretty iconic for Atlanta. I ran my fastest 10K time last year during this race, which amazes me!

I had to do 8-miles per my training plan, so I looped back a mile at the end, finishing 8 hot and sweaty miles that I felt good about throughout.

It was another quick turnaround at home, where I showered and ate and then went out to meet some friends at 1:00 p.m. at the Atlanta History Center.  This is a museum that I have run by a number of times, but have never actually been to. I actually never even thought of going to it until this past weekend when my friend invited me.

This past weekend was the celebration of the holiday known as "Juneteenth."  This day commemorates the day that the abolition of slavery was enforced in Texas. Which actually was about TWO YEARS after the emancipation proclamation was signed. Apparently without Facebook and Twitter it takes a bit loner for word to get out.

Anyways, many of my friends have known of and celebrated this holiday for years, but I just learned about it since moving to Atlanta.

In addition to having many exhibits about Atlanta and the history of Atlanta, they talked a lot about the history of Juneteenth, which began in Texas, when the ENFORCEMENT of the abolition of slavery actually began. It was two years following the emancipation proclamation that the southern slave owners were finally forced to have their slaves be free. As one of the speakers mentioned, "Some people think Juneteenth celebrates the freeing of the slaves. However, we had always known we were free. Juneteenth celebrates when everyone else enforced it."

It was a really great afternoon learning new things and a wonderful way to round out the weekend. I'm posting this as we hit Friday and the kick off to a NEW weekend but it just goes to show you how busy my life has been lately. I am certainly not trying to "have it all" but I am definitely working to have a social life, get in training, and also that little thing called a job. Which translates to being BUSY.

So, hoping to get into a rhythm soon with posting more. I miss you guys!  Hope to catch up soon.