Tag Archives: 213 in 2013

#19 & 20. go to a farmers’ market & buy a piece of local artwork

Mike and I’s seven year anniversary is tomorrow. Seven years is an incredibly long time – especially when you take into consideration that I’m only 23. I’ll write a mushy post about what those seven years have meant for me tomorrow, but for today I thought I’d share how Mike and I enjoyed an early celebration on Saturday, knocking a few more items off my 213 in 2013 list.

The weather in D.C. has been completely unpredictable lately, as demonstrated by the fact that on Saturday it was almost 60 degrees and sunny and today it’s freezing cold with a solid inch or two of snow on the ground. So, with the sunshine on our side, we hopped into the car and made our way towards Eastern Market in Capitol Hill, D.C.’s oldest farmers’ market full of fresh food, beautiful flowers and a diverse group of artists and crafters.

Beautiful day at Eastern Market.

Beautiful day at Eastern Market.

Growing up, my mom used to drag me to farmers’ markets all of the time. I only ever went for the oversized bags of kettle corn that would keep me occupied and happy while my mom spent hours traipsing through the tents, fawning over how beautiful the sunflowers were or how ripe the tomatoes looked. I didn’t realize how much I loved those early, sunny Saturday mornings  at the market with my mom until we moved away and stopped going.

I wish I could say that at a young age I appreciated all of the things that make a farmers market so wonderful. The old ladies sitting on their rocking chairs as they humbly gloat about how delicious their homemade jams are. Or the time-weathered man with a pipe hanging out of his mouth, carving something out of wood as he glances up at you out of one eye while you peruse his shop, admiring all of the beautiful woodwork that was created with his own two hands. Or the husband and wife who proudly grow their own overly ripe strawberries and herb garden filled with basil, mint, thyme and cilantro.

eastern market flowers

I may not have fully appreciated all of the hard work and gentle care of a person’s craft as a child, but I certainly do now. Mike and I spent a few hours walking along the tents, stopping in each one to admire everything from homemade soaps to handmade jewelry to stunning photography. I especially love being able to talk with each of the artists and learn more about their work and how they got started. Some have been doing this their entire lives while others have found their passion for the first time in decades.

Usually I tell them how beautiful their work is, flip over the price tag and cringe, wishing I could afford to support them in their endeavors. Being a local artist is a tough gig, but so is being a broke college student. Luckily, now that I have a job and a paycheck rolling in every two weeks, I can finally afford to fork over a “few” bucks for a one-of-a-kind original piece of art.

After stopping in a few tents, admiring paintings made from fabric and old books turned into purses and accessories, I stumbled upon a tent for a photographer, Joe Shymanski, who takes stunning photos of D.C. architecture. The photos captured the spirit and attitude of Washington, D.C. perfectly and I knew immediately I wanted to take home a print (or two) of his. So I flipped through the various photographs and stumbled upon two that immediately caught my eye and my heart. Somehow through the lens of his camera, he had seen D.C. as I do – history bathed in beauty; a city that continues to be reborn.

art print 2

art print 1

He wrapped up the prints, thanked me for my purchases and Mike and I grabbed a ridiculously good hot pretzel and strawberry lemonade before heading out to Chinatown for a delicious happy hour at La Tasca to enjoy some empanadas and blackberry mango sangria.

Nothing says "spring is here!" more than a pitcher of sangria.

Nothing says “spring is here!” more than a pitcher of sangria.

We finished the day sprawled out on an oversized blanket near the waterfront in Georgetown, soaking up the last few rays of sun curled up in each other’s arms. I couldn’t have dreamt up a better way to spend a Saturday, even if I tried. As Mike always likes to say… “it’s the little things, Niki.”

How lucky am I?

How lucky am I?

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#18. get my hair done (professionally)

From a very young age I have had a love-hate relationship with my hair. Growing up, that teetered more on the side of hate as I received mullet after bowl cut after feathered hair fan gone wrong. My mom sticks to her guns by saying that those styles were “in” back in the day when I accuse her of wanting to make me look ugly as a child.

One of many bad haircuts (and bathing suits).

One of many bad haircuts (and bathing suits).

Over the years however, once I began gaining more freedom as I grew up, I began experimenting, mixing hair dyes and chopping off chunks like I was some sort of mad scientist. From covering my entire head in hydrogen peroxide to get the trashy trailer park look to dunking my head in a pot of Kool-Aid to get pink streaks, I did it all and then some. My hair was always “my thing” – it was what had people talking and people were continually impressed with the daring or crazy things I’d be willing to try. I was always the girl with the cool, edgy short haircuts, looking badass before Anne Hathaway even thought of chopping off her locks.

That all came to a sudden halt when my hairdresser went a little too far with the shears and I ended up looking like this:

This picture does not do this bad haircut the (in)justice it deserves.

This picture does not do this bad haircut the (in)justice it deserves.

After about a month (or seven) of crying about looking like Billy Idol (can’t you see the resemblance?), I swore off getting my hair done for nearly two years. Aside from a little trim I got done in Paris, I didn’t let anyone come near me with a pair of scissors.

Hair twins with Billy Idol.

Hair twins with Billy Idol.

And so I grew it. And grew it. And eventually my hacked tresses started to grow back. When I got engaged in December 2011, I made the decision to grow my hair out as much as I could for the wedding while I dreamed of beautiful, intricate updos with my long flowing hair. I had always imagined what I’d look like with long hair… giving me so many options that I had never had like a pony tail or a bun, god forbid.

As a girl that’s had short hair her entire life, I wasn’t prepared in the slightest for how absolutely annoying long hair can be. Especially since I’ve been told my hair is as thick as a horse’s main (thanks, I guess?) Long hair takes FOREVER to dry. It gets super tangled and knotty. It loses shape. It’s heavy. And even though I always wanted long hair so I could do amazing, fun things with it, once I had it – I didn’t know how to do anything other than just let it sit there, resting lethargically and sloppily on my shoulders.

So, after two years of shear fear and six months left until my big day, I decided what better time than now to finally head back to a salon and get my hair done – professionally. I found a Groupon for E. Harlan Scott Salon right in Downtown Silver Spring to get a full color, deep conditioning treatment and haircut for only $39. I jumped on it.

After waiting weeks for my appointment (the salon books up really fast and now I see why!), I was beyond excited to finally sit down in a salon chair. After talking about what I wanted (and what I didn’t… I’ve found that tends to be the most important), I made my way into the backroom for an incredibly relaxing shampoo. I closed my eyes and dozed off while my colorist ran her fingers through my hair and massaged my scalp. There is nothing better than the feeling of someone else washing your hair.

No matter how busy you get -- find time to relax and treat yourself.

No matter how busy you get — find time to relax and treat yourself.

After getting dried off, I sat down and she began applying color after simply telling her to just “pick one.” I’m a firm believer that people should place trust into those who have honed their craft – and she picked out the perfect color for me.

Mike was embarrassed by me for having an obvious photoshoot in the middle of the salon. Anything for the blog, I say!

Mike was embarrassed by me for having an obvious photoshoot in the middle of the salon. Anything for the blog, I say!

After more washing and shampooing, I received a deep conditioning treatment and spent the next forty minutes until a big plastic ball of heat as I read Glamour magazine and watched as other customers had their hair done.

After another hour or so of waiting, to my surprise, the owner of the salon, Eddie Harlan Scott himself, came over and told me he’d be cutting and styling my hair – a complete and total shock since I had purchased a Groupon and had never in a million years expected for the owner himself to take the time to do my hair. It was my lucky day because the man is a hair god. While he snipped away and I watched my hair regain its life, we talked about anything and everything, from my wedding, to his plans to open a salon school to the problems with my generation. All while he twirled me in my seat, making magic with his hands and his shears, going on about how my hair belongs in a Pantene commercial and making me blush with pride.

A stereotypical before and after shot. Good riddance split ends!

A stereotypical before and after shot. Good riddance split ends!

When he turned me around to look at myself, I was blown away. It’s amazing what a few snips and slaps of color can do to make you see yourself in a new light and help you regain the confidence you once had, but somehow lost in the shuffle. It’s not that haircuts and dye jobs are what should make you feel beautiful – as that should certainly come from a place within. What’s important is taking the time to pamper yourself and remember that you’re always worth the extra time and attention. No matter how busy you may be – always make time for you.

#17. go skiing

I hate the cold. I’m not a fan of snow. And I particularly dislike things that involve any sort of athletic skill. This is why everyone who knows me thought I was absolutely bonkers when I told them I was putting skiing on my 213 in 2013 list.

“You’ll hate it,” they said.

“HA. Good luck with that,” scoffed another.

Despite the countless warnings I received, I woke up bright and early Saturday morning, layered in snow gear, ready for the 3-hour drive to the resort in Wintergreen, VA. Katie and Kevin, our friends from PA, had already made a three-hour drive the night before to join us for a day on the slopes.

It began snowing on our way to the resort -- despite gray skies, the scenery was beautiful.

It began snowing on our way to the resort — despite gray skies, the scenery was beautiful.

The car ride was cramped and long, but a Wawa pit stop helped relieved our sore legs and empty stomachs. While everyone else loaded up on Sizzlies, I grabbed myself a hard cider and some pita chips – clearly the breakfast of a skiing champion. As we got closer to the resort, we began climbing higher and higher up the picturesque mountain, full of babbling brooks, wooden cabins and rows upon rows of trees.

Breakfast of champions.

Breakfast of champions.

After we found parking and loaded out of the car, we made our way over to the Living Social room where we checked in. The next stop was the rental check-out where we got our boots and skis. This was when I had a feeling I might not like skiing as much as I had hoped. After trying on around four pairs of ski boots, all of them crushing my feet and suffocating my calves, I realized it was highly unlikely I’d find a pair that were comfortable and didn’t make me want to throw myself off a mountain. I stopped my bitching, tried to ignore the incessant throbbing of my lower body and shuffled my way outside.

I grabbed my poles, learned how to snap on my skis and I was eager to take off on my first run. I’m not sure why, but in my head I envisioned myself being a natural – gliding down the slopes gracefully like an Olympian. Instead, I strapped on my skis and before I even tried to move, I wiped out and crashed into Kevin who desperately attempted to catch me and what little dignity I had left as small children whipped by us. Katie, the patient instructor she was, explained the difference between french fry and pizza positions to teach me how to go and stop.

Eager beavers ready to hit the slopes.

Eager beavers ready to hit the slopes.

But despite Kevin’s attempts to catch me, Katie’s efforts to teach me and Mike’s words of encouragement – all of it was futile as I went soaring down the hill, pizza-ing as hard as I could before I completely wiped out, face first with both skis and poles flying off and crashing down upon me. Unable to pick myself up, I immediately felt embarrassed, bruised and defeated. I started grumbling that I was done as I strapped my skis back on and attempted another go at it.

The pattern ensued for the next thirty minutes. I’d muster up some courage, shake out the piles of snow that had gone down my pants, stifle my fears and shame and attempt another run only to wind up face first in another snow bank.

After what seemed like an eternity full of crashes even worse than the last, I finally made it to the bottom of the hill and conquered my next fear of getting on the ski lift. Before I knew it, Katie and I were up in the air, overlooking the snowy mountain and the pain convulsing through my entire body ceased for a few moments as I took in the sights around me. It was beautiful. It was peaceful. It was serene.

Until that is, the ski lift was approaching the jumping off point, in which I immediately panicked and as I attempted to quick get off, winded up crossing my skis (a big no-no) and completely wiped out right at the top of the lift. The operator had to stop everything as I was obstructing the way and checked to make sure I was alright. Besides another bruise on my knee and another blow to my ego, I was fine.

This is pre-Niki wiping out and hating life. Notice I'm still smiling.

This is pre-Niki wiping out and hating life. Notice I’m still smiling.

I wanted to quit. I wanted to take off the cramped boots, clumsy skis and head over to the bar for a cocktail or ten.

I decided to take a break while Katie and Mike took another try on the slopes. I perched myself on an oversized rock right next to the lift drop-off and I watched in amusement as people would crash and tumble as their turn came to jump off. However, one little girl made quite an impact on me. Standing no more than 4 feet tall, with crazy, wild blond curls framing her chubby, red cheeks, she bravely jumped off the lift and fell down right in front of my feet.

“I’m sorry!” she said as she slowly picked herself back up.

“It’s okay,” I responded with a laugh.

“Why are you sitting here all alone on this rock?” she asked.

“Well, I’m not very good at this. I keep falling down,” I said, feeling silly.

“So! You fall down, you get back up!” she exclaimed and before I could even say anything she was already on her way down the hill.

How fitting, I thought. And how wise beyond her years she is, without even knowing it.

I knew I owed it to myself (and my friends) to try again. It was too early to throw in the towel.

We went over to the bunny hill, full of parents teaching their toddlers how to ski. Yes, that’s right… I said toddlers. Toddlers, who I might add, were really, really good and had clearly mastered the art of the french fry and pizza way better than I had.

Katie and I posing for pictures on the ski lift... right before I wiped out.

Katie and I posing for pictures on the ski lift… right before I fell off face first.

We agreed to try going down the hill in increments. Mike went first and after a nice, juicy wipeout, he picked himself up and before I knew it, he was over the hill and out of sight. I went next and wiped out not too far onto the hill in an attempt to dodge a tiny blonde girl less than half my size. I could hear Katie shouting “It’s okay Niki! You’re doing great!”

She was clearly being nice as I was doing terrible. But I got back up anyways and took a deep breath. “Come on, Niki. You can do this,” I thought.

Before I knew it I was zooming down the hill, dodging little people to my left and my right, and I quickly started to panic as I continued to pick up speed without the ability to stop. I began screaming at the top of my lungs, “I’M PIZZA-ING, I’M PIZZA-ING” in the hopes that would somehow slow me down and not result in me finding myself buried in another snow bank. A gentleman off to the side yelled “PIZZA HARDER” as I zoomed past him.

We are clearly a couple head over heels in love.

We are clearly a couple head over heels in love.

At the bottom of the hill I saw Mike standing there, waiting for me. I dug the insides of my skis into the snow, poles waiving in the air with a look of sheer panic across my face. Mike started to yell “You’re doing it baby! You’re doing it!” and before I knew it, I began slowing down until I eventually stopped right in front of him. On both of my feet. It was incredible. I was so proud of myself and happy that I hadn’t given up after my first run like I had so badly wanted to.

We took a break, guzzled down some hot chocolate and made our way out to the slopes again. My confidence was up from my last run so I decided I could handle going down a slightly bigger hill, which later turned out to be a big mistake as I practically fell the entire way down.

We called it quits after a few hours and loaded back into the car, faces red, hands cold and bodies sore. I can probably say I’ll never be going skiing again anytime soon, but I can say that it made for an experience I will never forget.

Above all else, I’m proud that I continued to pick myself back up, despite how many times I fell and how badly I wanted to give up. I hope that my blonde, curly-haired friend would be proud of me too.

Mike and I enjoying the beautiful view.

Mike and I enjoying the beautiful view.

#15. a valentine’s day special: write 20 things i like about someone

Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone, or as other’s like to call it – Happy Hallmark or Singles’ Awareness Day. Even though I’ve had a Valentine for the last seven years, I am not one of those girls who gets excited over the so-called “holiday.” In fact, I get pretty annoyed at all of the couples who make us taken girls look bad when they bitch about only getting 6 roses instead of 12 or Russell Stover’s  chocolate instead of Godiva.

Just a couple of goofs.

Just a couple of goofs.

I’m not going to try a cliché blog post about love being something that should be shown 365 days of the year, because you already know that. And that doesn’t just go for significant others I’d like to add – that goes for family and friends as well, the people who are there for you every day.

Because Mike and I are both pathetically broke this year, we’re not doing much out of the ordinary, although that’s been practically every year (last Valentine’s Day we celebrated with pizza. Clearly, he knows the way to my heart).

On my 213 in 2013 list, I wanted to write a list of 20 things I liked about someone and give it to them. I think people like to hear about all of the little quirks they have that make others smile. So I figured it would be the perfect “gift” for Mike – a small, yet sincere and heartfelt way to let him know the many reasons why I love him.

I was even lucky enough to be graced with a big heaping pile of #10. this morning. I’m definitely spoiled. As I’ve said before and I’ll say again – it’s the little, sweet, everyday gestures that make love as great as it is. The ones that you know will make your special someone smile. Not the rush to buy a bouquet of roses because you feel obligated to.

pancakes

Better than any pancakes you’ll ever eat. No, seriously.

Here are 20 (+1) reasons I have the greatest guy in the world.

things i love about you

20 things I love about you:

  1. Your prowess and unmatched talent with even the most challenging crossword puzzle.
  2. The way you sing along to every Steve Wonder song, eyes closed – head swaying.
  3. Your ridiculous musical talent and ability to pick up any instrument and teach yourself how to play it.
  4. That you let me be the big spoon.
  5. That you can never stay mad at me for too long without letting me make you laugh or smile.
  6. Your housekeeping skills and your understanding that I have OCD about dishes, beds that are made and laundry that is folded.
  7. How funny you can be when you’re not even trying. Confession: you’re much funnier than I let on.
  8. Your ugly cry. And how funny, and adorable and absolutely endearing it is and how it can turn even the most emotional moments into awkward, hysterical ones.
  9. Your crooked tooth. It gives your smile so much more pizazz than anyone else’s I’ve ever seen.
  10. How you always manage to make the most delicious, fluffy pancakes that are way better than those at any diner or restaurant I’ve ever been to.
  11. The way you hug me like you’ll never get to do it again. Every single time.
  12. Your patience – even with my most outrageous demands or temper tantrums. Your ability to see through my craziness and love me for even my worst parts.
  13. That you never let me win at the games we play just because I’m a girl. You kick my ass in Scrabble and checkers and I love you for it.
  14. Your thoughtfulness. Whether it comes in the form of a pint of ice cream I’ve been talking about craving or that you spent your day off from work cleaning the apartment – I appreciate every single thing you do.
  15. Your guilty face when you know I’m mad at you with your sad puppy eyes. You know it’s my kryptonite.
  16. That you have absolutely no athletic skills whatsoever, but it never keeps you from attempting to dunk a basket like Michael Jordan.
  17. When we’re driving and you randomly reach over and grab my hand.
  18. All of the things my friends and I make you put up with, from driving us around to listening to our garbagy gossip.
  19. When you sing in the shower and fill up the apartment with the sounds of soul, funk and jazz with your voice.
  20. That you make the perfect “Love Shack” karaoke partner and help us steal the show everywhere we go.

And one extra, for the road!

  1.  That you have been my karaoke partner, secret keeper, punching bag, source of comfort, joke teller, partner in crime, best friend and love of my life for the last seven years.

Thank you for everything you do to make this life the best life it can be. I love you from the bottom of my heart. Happy Valentine’s Day.

#13 & #14 go wedding dress and bridesmaid dress shopping

Brace yourself kiddies, this is a double-header and it’s a long one.

I have always admittedly been one of those girls who daydreamed about her wedding day before I could even tie my shoes. I grew up in the middle of the Disney Princess phenomenon when every girl thought Prince Charming actually existed and that he’d sweep you off your feet on a magic carpet ride. Luckily, I grew out of that fairly quickly and Disney Princess movies were replaced with episodes of Say Yes to the Dress. For as long as I can remember, I’d watch every episode, curled up on my couch and dreamed about the day I’d finally be able to try on a wedding dress for the very first time.

In my fantasy, I’d come out of the dressing room and my mom, sister and closest friends would be sitting on a grand, white couch, sipping champagne as I made my way to the pedestal in the center of the room. They would all start crying and telling me how beautiful I looked. I’d turn around, catch a glance of myself in the mirror and with complete joy and excitement, jump eagerly up and down as I shouted “I’m saying yes to the dress!”

And that, my friends, is why fantasies are called fantasies. Thanks, TLC.

This past Saturday, I woke up at the crack of dawn, shaved my legs for the first time in a week and made the three hour drive to Pennsylvania to go wedding dress and bridesmaid dress shopping with my bridal party. My sister, the maid of honor, had made us two appointments that day and reservations for dinner afterwards to celebrate what we hoped would be a successful shopping trip. Oh, and did I mention there was a big blizzard in the Northeast this weekend? Yeah, only us. Luckily, the snow didn’t keep us away from a day full of tacky dresses, tulle and in the end, perfect and fantastical moments.

Every girl needs a little sparkle to help her feel special.

Every girl needs a little sparkle to help her feel special.

Unfortunately, in the area I was looking, there were a total of three bridal stores and of the three, one didn’t carry anything bigger than a size 10 (seriously?), so our choices were pretty limited. We drove up to the first stop of the day – Bridaltown. When I say this place is stuck in a really, really bad 1980s movie, I’m not kidding  — baby pink exterior, floral floor to ceiling wallpaper and stained magenta carpet, you name it. After being told they didn’t have a reservation in the system for us (liars, you called me thirty minutes ago to confirm), they took us to where they kept the bridesmaid dresses – a sad looking rack full of sad looking dresses. Dresses that were ill-fitting, poorly made and not to mention exorbitantly priced.

I wish I was joking... but this place actually exists.

I wish I was joking… but this place actually exists.

We decided the place sucked way too much to spend another minute there so we wrapped up our appointment.

Our next and last stop of the day was David’s Bridal in Plymouth Meeting. Before we could even walk into the store, Jess yanked the door a little too hard and her French manicured nail completely rips off and flies into the air. Alex and my mom are talking about doing shots out of the back of a car. I realize I have the Motley Crew as my bridal party (and quite frankly, couldn’t be happier about it, total dysfunction and all.)

Racks and racks and racks of dresses.

Racks and racks and racks of dresses.

The difference between Bridaltown and David’s Bridal is like describing the difference between heaven and hell. Gone are the pink walls and stained carpet with sad looking dresses and bitchy sales people. Instead there is a warm and welcoming hostess greeting me at the door, congratulating me on my upcoming wedding and to our left and right, rows upon rows of beautiful dresses. It’s finally starting to look a bit more like my TLC-inspired fantasy.

The girls run off and each take a row to pick out dresses for themselves as I greet my consultant, Lisa, who’s wearing combat boots, fishnets and is a complete and total angel. She asks me what I want and that’s when I realized – I had no clue. I had planned every other aspect of the wedding down to a drop of glitter and here I am, clueless as to how I want to look on my big day. I had two pictures of dresses I thought I’d like, told her my price point and said above all else – I want something that will make me look good.

She pulls the two dresses I showed her off the rack and a third, out-of-the-box choice – something she thought I’d look good in. As I get crammed into a corseted bra, put on a slip and get laced into my first dress, it finally hits me – this is my moment. The one I had been waiting for and had dreamed about for so long. I step out of the dressing room waiting to see the reaction of my mom’s face, my bridal party, everyone… and when I go out, nobody is there. HA. My mom is in the bathroom peeing and my bridesmaids didn’t even realize I was trying on dresses. It’s alright though, because the first dress was kind of a bust. Once everyone saw me in it they gave it an 8. Moving on.

Unfortunately, not a winner.

I go back in to try on the second dress – Lisa’s choice and before I can even look at myself in the mirror, my bridal party is oohing and aahing and my mom is crying. It’s hit her that her firstborn is getting married in a few months. Cue the tissues. The dress was beautiful – covered in ivory lace, intricate beading and form-fitted.

I try on the third dress, what I thought was going to be “the one” and it turns out it looked absolutely atrocious. My sister said I looked like a tent and the fabric felt like a cheap down comforter.

I put everyone’s favorite dress back on. But despite everyone loving it, I couldn’t see myself walking down the aisle in it. I didn’t like the way my body looked. I was uncomfortable. And before I knew it I was a few seconds away from a total bridal breakdown. My bridal party, the amazing group that they are, calmed me down by fanning me, telling me I looked beautiful and agreeing to let me have a break as they tried on their bridesmaid dresses.

As I sat in the chair, back in my jeans and cardigan, convinced I wouldn’t be leaving with a wedding dress, I took a deep breath and waited for them to come out of the dressing room. The first round of dresses didn’t produce any winners, although Jess thought it was a good idea to booty pop in her bubble dress. Like I said – Motley Crew.

They go back in and come back out with the second round of dresses and one by one, each of them looks absolutely stunning as they stand in front of me. Four girls with four very different body shapes and yet this one dress looks beautiful on all of them. It was a bridesmaid miracle. Okay, I thought. Things are looking up. Maybe I’ll find a dress afterall.

The color swatch for the bridesmaid dresses -- pewter gray!

The color swatch for the bridesmaid dresses — pewter gray!

I tell Lisa a few more basic ideas for what I’m looking for in a wedding dress. She pauses, nods her head and comes back with three more. I try the first one on and before its even laced up all the way, before I can even see myself – I knew.

I walked out onto the floor and stood in front of the mirror. I was beaming. Glowing, even, as I have been told. It wasn’t anything I had ever expected to fall in love with. But I was – I was completely, head-over-heels in love with this dress and I didn’t want to take it off. I felt beautiful for the first time that day.

I tried on the other two dresses she pulled as a courtesy (and because you only get to try on wedding dresses once in your life, so I figured I should have fun with it), but none of them came close to the first dress. My bridal party was eerily silent (a tactic I later learned to get me to admit to loving my dress instead of seeking their approval), but they told me to come back out in my favorite dress.

So I did. I put on the beautiful, white gown again and walked out to look at myself one last time before turning to my bridal party, holding back my tears and yelling “this is my dress!”

Lisa brought over the bell, a David’s Bridal tradition. She placed it in my hand, told me to close my eyes and make a wish for my wedding day. I let the moment sink in. That I was standing in the dress I would be wearing when I’d become Mike’s wife. That I was surrounded by people who all genuinely love me. That I had never felt more beautiful. I made a wish, opened my eyes and rang the hell out of that bell, so loudly that the entire store stopped to clap and congratulate me.

I wish it was acceptable to wear my wedding dress every day until September.

I wish it was acceptable to wear my wedding dress every day until September.

It was better than any fantasy I could have ever had. It was imperfectly perfect in every way.

We wrapped up the day by grabbing dinner and drinks at California Pizza Kitchen – complimentary “wedding” pie included.

Our waitress was amazing and gave me free keylime pie to celebrate my special day.

Our waitress was amazing and gave me free keylime pie to celebrate my special day.

I spent the next day staring at my wedding dress, picturing myself walking down the aisle to the man I love, with the women I love standing right beside me.

even if you’re broken, you can pick up the pieces

If you’ve been reading my blog, you already know I have a bit of a crush on Kid President. And not in the weird, creepy – he’s only 9 kind of way, but in the “damn, I really wish I was that awesome” way.

By now, I’m sure most of you have seen his pep talk that went viral and if you haven’t, then you NEED to check it out. It’s the perfect remedy for those days that feel a little gray.

kidprez

Kid President has just released his latest video – a look at the behind-the-scenes story of how the awesome, do-gooder, danceaholic became a sweeping inspiration across the country.

If you’ve ever watched any of his videos, you’d never guess that he lives with a disorder. It’s called Osteogenesis Imperfecta — better know as the “brittle bones disease” which makes it very easy for him to break or fracture bones. You’d think with a problem like that it could really hold someone back from living life to the fullest, but it has never kept him from shaking his tailfeather and being an inspiration to everyone that watches him.

As he’s demonstrated time and time again, even if you’re broken, you can always put the pieces back together. A lesson all of us should remember on our roughest days.

Check out Kid President’s latest video and share it with your friends and family.

#12. win a game of trivia

I am a vessel of random, mostly useless facts. My brain is like a sponge in the worst way, meaning I will absorb information that for the most part, will never serve a purpose. That is, until a game of trivia comes along and that weird factoid taking up valuable space in my brain comes in handy. This is why I put “win a game of trivia” on my 213 in 2013 list. So I can make use of years of half-watching Jeopardy games, hours of reading news articles and my strange obsession with memorizing things like all of the state’s capitols. And last night, the Funkie Duckies brought home victory.

These rubber ducks actually exist somewhere on the internet...

These rubber ducks actually exist somewhere on the internet…

As you can probably gather from my previous post, these past few days haven’t been the easiest. So a night of cheap drinks and trivia with an awesome group of people was exactly what the doctor ordered. Luckily, Blackfinn, a bar in downtown Bethesda holds trivia night every Wednesday with different themes ranging from 80s pop hits to 90s sitcom shows. Last night’s theme, in honor of the recent passage of Groundhog’s Day, was all about none other than Bill Murray.

While I have seen several of Murray’s blockbusters like Groundhog Day, Caddyshack and Ghostbusters, I am by no means a Bill Murray expert. So the chances of winning seemed pretty slim to none. As we waited for the game to start we slid into a booth and drank martini after martini after martini (okay, maybe that was just me actually, but hey – it was brain fuel) and chowed down on your typical bar food of wings, fries and burgers.

Bill-murray-fish-mouth

The game finally started and the first round was general trivia. After failing to come up with anything witty for our group name, we settled on the Funkie Duckies. The questions ranged from AMC’s most viewed television premiere to the mass of a human brain and we all piped in eagerly each time one of us knew the answer to a question, feeling a sense of self-worth for absorbing that random fact some time years ago.

Round one was a breeze and we came out victorious. To show for it, we won a free round of shots (no idea what it was but it tasted like whiskey and maraschino cherry juice) and a Bud Light koozie. Not bad.

The next round fired up – 10 questions about Bill and his most memorable movies and roles. I chimed in once or twice but Mike was clearly the Bill Murray master and didn’t even look up to ask us for help the majority of the game. It’s times like that when I realize maybe his hours of perusing IMBD articles are worth it.

Round two wrapped up and again, we were declared the winners. More free shots except this time it looked like the toilet water in a porter potty and tasted like it too. But free is free and the taste of victory made it go down a little bit easier.

Still feeling queasy after this one.

Still feeling queasy after this one.

The third and final round was by far the hardest. The host played clips of songs from movies made famous by Bill. The obvious ones like Caddyshack, Ghostbusters and Little Shop of Horrors were easy. The others left us stumped and I knew there was a slim chance of us winning the third round in a row. But to lighten the blow of our imminent loss, “I believe I can fly,” made famous by Space Jam came on and the entire table participated in an obnoxiously loud and embarrassing sing-along with hand gestures to match.

We lost the final round but were declared the overall champions and scored a $50 gift card, which we are saving for our next trivia night.

I didn’t get into bed until 11:30 last night and I knew I was going to be exhausted for work the next day. But Bill Murray, free shots and R. Kelly sing-a-longs are the stuff of life and should never be missed for a few extra hours of sleep.