Tag Archives: friendship

#36. have an awesome bridal shower

We are officially in double-digit territory folks. That’s right. There are now only 93 days left until the ‘big day’ and Mike and I are scrambling to get things together.

Two weeks ago my sister, the maid of honor in my wedding, and my bridesmaids hosted my bridal shower at my mom’s house.

After weeks and weeks of a constant barrage of texts from Rissa, telling me about all the wonderful things she had planned, I could barely contain my excitement. Thanks to Pinterest, coupled with my early-age obsession with all things wedding, I had created in my head the bridal shower of my dreams.

It would be pink. Definitely pink.

And there would be champagne. Lots of it.

And a beautiful cake.

And flowers, and delicious food and small beautiful details.

And my closet friends and family.

But then I reminded myself to be realistic and decided I’d be happy with just pizza, friends and booze.

The day before the shower, I picked up Bethany and her, Mike and I made the three hour trek to Pennsylvania. After filling up on half priced appetizers at Applebee’s, we went back to Rissa’s and crashed for the night. (I’m convinced Bethany is a saint for surviving six total hours with Mike and I in the car and having to spend an entire weekend with my friends and family).

The next morning I anxiously got ready in my new mint lace dress. I quickly blow dried my hair and scrutinized my makeup. I wanted to look like a ‘blushing bride.’ B and I grabbed some Wawa iced coffees to give ourselves the needed fuel to make it throughout the long day ahead.

Before I knew it I was receiving text after text from Rissa telling me to hurry up and come over – that it was finally time for my bridal shower to start.

We pulled up and after giving out a few hugs to those who were waiting on the front porch, Rissa walked me through the house to see everything.

And nothing – no dreamed up vision, no Pinterest board, no TLC reality TV show could have prepared me for how absolutely beautiful and amazing and perfect everything was. I was literally lost for words (which doesn’t happen often).

There was pink. Everywhere.

And champagne. Lots of it.

And the most beautiful cake I had ever seen.

And flowers. And tables full of delicious food. And so many small beautiful details I couldn’t take them all in fast enough.

And most importantly, my closest family and friends.

The beautiful spread. Photo courtesy of B. Roons.

The beautiful spread. Photo courtesy of B. Roons.

My favorite thing: a mimosa bar. Photo courtesy of B. Roons.

My favorite thing: a mimosa bar. Photo courtesy of B. Roons.

The cake in all her Parisian sparkly glory. Photo courtesy of B. Roons.

The cake in all her Parisian sparkly glory. Photo courtesy of B. Roons.

...And my reaction to said amazing cake.

…And my reaction to said amazing cake.

By the time I made it to the back deck, my eyes were swelling up with tears because I was completely and utterly overwhelmed with how perfect everything was. It was all I had ever dreamed of and more. And  so I buried my face in Rissa’s shoulder as we both sobbed and whimpered to each other how much we loved one another. Because we’re big babies like that.

Soon to be Mrs. (Ianni)-Young.

Soon to be Mrs. (Ianni)-Young.

Mmm, mimosa. Courtesy: B. Roons.

Mmm, mimosa. Courtesy: B. Roons.

I got spoiled.

I got spoiled.

The rest of the day was filled with lots of mimosas, and catching up with friends I hadn’t seen in awhile, and snapping dozens of pictures, and wrapping ourselves in toilet paper, and laughing until our stomachs ached. There were speeches. And tears. And more mimosas. And love. Lots and lots of love.

So much love I felt like I could burst.

So. much. love.

So. much. love.

The three musketeers.

The three musketeers.

Two of my favorite ladies. Photo courtesy of Bethany.

Two of my favorite ladies. Photo courtesy of Bethany.

My temple ladies.

My temple ladies.

I felt so lucky that day, looking around the room and each of those women, to call them my friends and my family. Especially my amazing bridal party for everything they did to put it together, my mom for not having a complete panic attack with all the commotion in her house, and of course, my best friend, sister, and maid of honor, Rissa for always finding a way to give me the world and more.

My amazing bridal party.

My amazing bridal party.

My best friend, sister, maid of honor. Basically, I'd be lost without her.

My best friend, sister, maid of honor. Basically, I’d be lost without her.

After everyone started trickling out and the final hugs were exchanged, the few of us that remained chowed down on pizzas. 6 large pizzas and 2 orders of breadsticks to be exact. What can I say, bridal showers will take a lot out of you.

Hungry much?

Hungry much?

Jess, Bethany, Rissa, me and the boys stayed up drinking margaritas and playing card games late into the night. It was the perfect way to end an already perfect day.

Margaritas & a game of bullshit.

Margaritas & a game of bullshit.

The next morning, everyone was slow and sluggish, still recovering from Saturday’s festivities. After more coffee, croissants and muffins, Mike, Bethany and I stuffed the gifts into the car and made the three hour drive home, with a Rita’s pit stop on the way.

My breakfast the following day, a disgustingly delicious truffle.

My breakfast the following day, a disgustingly delicious truffle.

Mike and I spent the next three hours cleaning the apartment and setting up all of our beautiful gifts, turning our place into even more of a home.

Rissa's (one of many) beautiful gift to me - a love bracelet to match with hers.

Rissa’s (one of many) beautiful gift to me – a love bracelet to match with hers.

I sprawled out across the floor, exhausted and sweaty, but happy, and closed my eyes, replaying the entire weekend in my mind again.

It really was that perfect.

Family forever, for always and no matter what.

Family forever, for always and no matter what.


#34. grab drinks with old friends

You will often hear people talk about high school being some of the best days of their lives. And that makes sense with all the hub bub over prom, and homecoming and “senior week” and house parties full of cheap booze.

Not for me.

Unlike 99.9% of the population, some of my best days were lived in middle school. Those three awkward years where you’re still growing into your body, sleepovers with your girlfriends are a mandatory weekend ritual and you get in trouble for things like stuffing kids into lockers, putting your friends in trashcans and flinging mashed potatoes on to the cafeteria ceiling. (Okay, maybe that was just at my middle school.)

A group of sweaty, emotional teenagers the day I left for Pennsylvania.

A group of sweaty, emotional teenagers the day I left for Pennsylvania.

I went to Godwin, a not-so-fantastic place that was rife with all sorts of problems. My middle school made it “cool” for 13-year-olds to get pregnant before any other school and there were usually 10 fights…a day. Nonetheless, in the middle of all the craziness, there was a group of nerds, (I use that term in a fond way), part of a “super smart advanced IB program.”

And in that group I found a family.

A completely dysfunctional family that laughed together, cried together and dated each other to the point where it was hard to keep track of who was dating who.

My JAU girls and best friends in middle school.

My JAU girls and best friends in middle school.

Some of my favorite memories are around that old worn gym track, where I’d have heart to hearts with my girlfriends or sneak a kiss in with my boyfriend. Or in Mr. Stoebe’s science class where I got in trouble more times than I’d like to admit for attacking him with silly string or ruining his pants because I soaked his seat with water. Or at lunchtime where my friends and I would have impromptu food fights and get banished to the cafeteria stage.

Middle school may have ended ten years ago, but thanks to the powers of Facebook I’m still able to see how everyone’s doing and what everyone’s up to. This past December, we decided we wanted to have a reunion and it was incredible. Nearly 30 people showed up, who I hadn’t seen for a decade, and we spent the night reminiscing and laughing, just like old times.

First Godwin reunion, circa December 2012.

First Godwin reunion, circa December 2012.

A smaller group of us got together again this past weekend and caught up over food and drinks, sharing stories about the “golden days of Godwin” and where life had taken all of us. From job offers at architecture firms, to people earning their master’s degrees, to others pursuing a career in politics and doing life-saving research for HIV. It was amazing to spend a few hours reliving the glory years of gold and blue and hearing about the exciting paths everyone was taking from moving to marriage.

We toasted to our dear friend Brian, who would have just turned 23. (Happy birthday again, Gomez.)

We drank and laughed until our bar tabs were outrageous (ok, maybe just mine…) and then we hugged each other goodbye until the next time.

Last weekend's get together.

Last weekend’s get together. Governors for life.

It’s crazy how there are just some people in your life, no matter the time or distance that comes between you, who will always have a special place in your heart.  A place that’s painted gold and blue, all wrapped up in silly string, gym uniforms and detention.

Cheers to all my Godwin Governors and all the wonderful things life has brought you.

#24. & #25. go paintballing & plan a brother-sister weekend

If your parents are anything like mine, or any other parent on the face of the planet, you’ve probably heard the following at least a hundred times:

“Be nice to your brother and sister. You may hate them now but they’re going to be all you have one day.”

The worst part about it? Realizing like pretty much everything else they’ve ever said to you, from saving money for college to not getting that face tattoo you want, they are always right.

brother sister

Being the oldest of three, I was excited to have a little sister and brother to look after and take care of. Until I realized it meant sharing the precious camcorder spotlight or not getting as many toys or new clothes, or no longer being the cute, little one in the family. No – I was the older sister. I needed to make “sacrifices” and have “responsibilities.”

So I decided to do what any normal older sibling desperate for attention would do. I tried to mail my sister to China. And frame her for stealing books by putting barcode stickers on her. And blame her and my brother for breaking chairs or my dad’s favorite painting or spilling spaghettios. Basically, I was a devil child (in disguise).

But over the years, as the three of us grew up, something weird happened. We started to actually like each other.

And so we began sharing secrets. And making inside jokes our parents wouldn’t understand. And calling one another when we needed help. Things that my parents warned us would eventually happen, even though we swore they were crazy.

The three of us no longer live under the same roof anymore. My sister lives down the street from my parents with her boyfriend. My brother goes to school at Temple in Philly. I live in Maryland. Naptime and playtime and dinnertime have been replaced by full-time jobs, heavy course loads and other adult responsibilities. Which is why when the three of us actually are able to spend time together, I like to take full advantage of it and appreciate every single second.

As you may have already gathered from Monday’s post, my sister, her boyfriend and my brother had made plans to come down this past weekend so the two boys could jump out of a plane with me. I wanted all three of us to participate in something together though, which is why I was excited when Mike made reservations for all of us to go paintballing on Sunday. I couldn’t imagine a better group to go with.

After a very long and exhausting day at the skydiving center, followed by a late (albeit delicious) dinner at Matchbox, we came home, played a few card games and called it a night around 1 as we had a wakeup time of 7.


After groaning at our alarm clocks and throwing on layer after layer of t-shirts and sweats, we made the hour and a half drive to middle-of-nowhere Virginia to get geared up and down and dirty.

We were assigned our teams, given instructions on how to shoot the guns and rules for the game: capture the flag. After a brief strategy meeting, we found our posts and got ready to defend our bunker.

paintball boys

Something you should know about me if you haven’t picked up on it already: I’m a bit of a girly girl. Not necessarily the kind that loves Katherine Heigl movies, wears pink sparkly nail polish (ok guilty) and squeaks every time she talks. I’m talking more along the lines of hating dirt and messes – especially when I am the one getting dirty and messy.

As a kid I was a total tomboy. I climbed trees, made (and sometimes ate) mud pies, organized neighborhood street hockey games – you name it. Somewhere between my pair of denim overalls and my first pair of glitter heels I forgot about the rough and tumble girl from years ago. The one who collected caterpillars and danced in the rain every chance she got.

On the way to the battlefield I tried jumping from place to place in a hopeless attempt to avoid the giant mud piles strewn everywhere. My post itself was behind a fallen over tree in a giant puddle of mud.

Bugs everywhere.

Mud everywhere.

paintball dirty

At first I resisted. I whimpered at the mud that was starting to cover my shoes and I squirmed at the bugs that were crawling in front of me. But before I knew it a paintball when whizzing by my head, nearly hitting me in the face right before I ducked and fell to my knees in the mud puddle in front of me.

I lifted my hands and let the mud squish through my fingers. I looked up and saw my brother and sister ahead of me, both crouched down in the mud, behind trees. I felt a ball form in the back of my throat – the kind of ball that forms when you try to choke back tears. Because I realized that those afternoons making mud pies with my brother and sister and playing hide-and-go-seek in the woods were some of the best days of my life but I didn’t figure that out until now.

paintball girls

For the next two hours or so we crawled through mud, ran from tree to tree, hiding behind barrels and logs as we played a game of full-on war. It was by far one of the best afternoons I’ve ever had. And I’m so lucky I got to experience it with my brother and sister. For a few hours that day we were kids again. Not plagued with prepping for finals or stressing about work. Rather we played for hours, got dirty and loved every minute of it.

We made the long drive home after we were worn out, bruised, and out of paintballs. One by one we washed off our warpaint and filled our rumbling stomachs with a healthy dose of Nando’s Peri-Peri and froyo.

They packed their bags and we said goodbye to each other.

paintball group

It’s funny how parents are always right in the end. Sometimes it takes a couple hundred miles, a few adult responsibilities mixed in with some mud and paint to make you realize that two of your greatest friends have been standing right beside you all along.

#9. have a girls’ weekend

First — yikes! Allow me to apologize for the lack of blogging this week. I haven’t fallen asleep behind the keyboard. In fact, it’s been quite the opposite. This week at work has been a whirlwind with exciting announcements that have required me to spend every waking minute and ounce of energy in important hearings, writing  and editing releases, pitching media like a mad woman and lining up media interviews left and right. All I can say is, thank GOD I had an awesome weekend with some of my favorite ladies before the avalanche of work stress came charging at me.


Now that I live a couple hundred miles away from my favorite people, when I do get to spend time with my closest friends, it makes every second that much more special. Which is why I wanted a girls’ weekend on my 213 in 2013 list. Alex and Lauren had planned to come down inauguration weekend (woops, total oversight on our part), so that Friday I pushed through work eager to get down to Union Station and pick them up for a weekend of revelry.

Once I got the call that their buses were in, I jumped out of the car and waved my arms signaling where I was. They started walking towards me and that’s when I noticed three people, not two, were making their way over. I squinted through the dark and in total shock and surprise, saw that they had brought my good friend Marianna with them. Ensue lots of high pitched, girly squealing, screaming and jumping. Turns out we would all get to help celebrate Marianna’s big 21st birthday together.

Poor Marianna couldn't even partake in the $1 margaritas because it was still an hour until her birthday...

Poor Marianna couldn’t even partake in the $1 margaritas because it was still an hour until her birthday…

After loading the car with their bags, we went over to Medaterra, a greek/Mediterranean restaurant in Woodley Park. They were serving up $5 martinis and $1 margaritas (that apparently tasted like cough syrup). My martini, whatever it was, tasted like spiked chocolate milk and was well worth the five bucks. We sipped, munched and chatted until the restaurant closed and made our way back to my apartment where we spent a few more hours sipping drinks and catching up.

Life is always made better by a cupcake. Or four.

Life is always made better by a cupcake. Or four.

The next day we went over to Cake Love — my absolute favorite cupcakery — and got Marianna a free birthday cupcake while the rest of us debated between the various flavors of tiramisu, nutella and peanut butter and banana. We took our cupcakes to the park bench outside of the outdoor skating rink and stuffed way too many calories into our gullets before crossing the street to paint some pottery.

Never take 4 OCD girls out to paint pottery together...
Never take 4 OCD girls out to paint pottery together…

I don’t know why it didn’t occur to me that having myself and two other OCD freaks who aren’t super fond of children (Alex is the normal one) painting pottery surrounded by kids would be a good idea, but I went for it anyways. We squeezed into a small table, spent too long debating between rose pink and blush pink and then began the tedious task of painting our various pieces. Lauren freaked out about her lines not being straight (…they were abnormally straight), Marianna threw a fit about paint smears and I had a bitch fest about my uneven chevron stripes. Alex just enjoyed painting butterflies and polka dots and made the rest of us look like nut jobs.

My finished piece -- a reminder of my new attitude for the year ahead.

My finished piece — a reminder of my new attitude for the year ahead.

After finishing our pottery pieces and washing off, we went over to Nando’s Peri-Peri and enjoyed a pitcher of sangria and some delicious Peruvian chicken. We needed the sangria to calm our frazzled nerves from the children whining and the imperfect pottery paint jobs.

oro pomodoro pizzas

Stuffed full of chicken and wine, we went home, washed up, (I napped…because I’m old), and got ready for dinner at Oro Pomodoro (the same restaurant Mike and I took that pizza making class at). Another friend of ours, Kurie, met us over there and we all ordered various mouth-watering dishes — pizzas with shaved parmigiana and prosciutto, gnocchi with braised beef and wine, and the coolest dish of all — creamy risotto with porcini mushrooms and white truffle oil, prepared tableside in a 1200lb of parmigiana by the same chef from our pizza-making class, Michaelo! The waiter was from Naples and was absolutely adorable and charming and always made sure our glasses were full.

The coolest dish I've ever seen -- risotto prepared tableside in a giant block of cheese. It costs $1500!

The coolest dish I’ve ever seen — risotto prepared tableside in a giant block of cheese. The block costs $1500!

Once we were finished with dinner, we went home, freshened up again and went out to properly celebrate Marianna’s 21st at Blackfinn, a frat-esque saloon type bar in downtown Bethesda. We enjoyed a night of dancing to music so loud that it shook your core and left you deaf at the end of the night. The way it should be when celebrating someone’s 21st. I passed out around 5am — I couldn’t cut it anymore.

Our plans for brunch the next day got scrapped by a disgusting amount of traffic thanks to the inauguration so instead of cozying up at Matchbox, we ended up having to get Chipotle to go.

The weekend definitely had it’s hiccups but it was still a fantastic time with some of my absolute favorite people. A weekend full of laughing, and gossiping and reminiscing and painting and drinking and eating and dancing. And living. And loving every second of it. Because I’ve learned to not take advantage of my time with the people I care about anymore. It may be less frequently but it doesn’t lack in quality. That’s for sure.

how do people make it through life without a sister?

Happy Friday, everyone!

While I always love Fridays and look forward to the weekends – I’m especially excited for this one because my sister and her boyfriend are visiting as a belated celebration for her 20th birthday. Her actual birthday was Tuesday, September 11. People always cringe when they hear that she shares her special day with one full of so much tragedy and heartbreak because as you can imagine – it isn’t the easiest of days to celebrate.

It’s hard to believe the same girl I used to throw dirt at and fight over PB&J sandwiches with is no longer a teenager but rather a beautiful, hard-working, independent woman and someone who I greatly admire.

I say all of this because I can’t name one person I know who has their life more together than she does, and she’s only 20-years-old. She began working at the age of 14 (as you’ll see from my previous post, my parents believe in a hard work ethic at a young age) and now works full-time as the assistant manager at Jos A. Bank. She and her boyfriend moved into their own apartment this past March. She goes to school part-time so she can become a teacher, preferably for special needs children. She drives her own car, pays all of her own bills as she has been for the past five years, and regardless of everything on her plate – she is always the first to lend a helping hand to whoever needs it.

She’s a shining example of what every person, including myself, should aim to be.

Yesterday she shared something with me:

“Having a rough day?

Place your hand over your heart.

Feel that?

That’s called purpose.

You’re alive for a reason.

Don’t give up.”

Did I mention she’s also wise beyond her years? Whenever I hear people complaining about my generation…about our selfishness, our lack of tenacity, our ignorance and inflated egos – I point to my sister because its people like her who are going to help change the world.

I’m just lucky to be able to call her my sister. And my best friend. I’m just glad I didn’t end up mailing her to China when she was a baby as I had so deviously planned. (Hey Rissy – I’m still sorry for sticking stamps in your mouth and putting you next to the mailbox…)

Expect a full weekend recap on Monday!

“To the outside world we all grow old.  But not to sisters.  We know each other as we always were.  We know each other’s hearts.  We share private family jokes.  We remember family feuds and secrets, family griefs and joys.  We live outside the touch of time.”  – Clara Ortega