Sunday, September 5, 2010

Friends, Family & an Action-Packed Weekend in MN

I just spent a whoppin' 6 days in Minnesota for my sister's "Bridal Shower Weekend", and I can't believe it's already over. All of the time and hours of planning and prepping from the other side of the country.. I honestly don't know how I pulled it off. Hosting 2 of 4 showers in one weekend is definitely a record for me! So very exciting and rewarding, yet so very stressful. Obviously I couldn't have done it alone, and for that I am beyond grateful. I guess I'll start from the beginning..

I was so lucky to have my flight depart from the Greenville airport (vs. Charlotte or Asheville), so it was a nice little drop-off for Justin. My flight left at 5:30am, which of course meant I had to be there at least an hour early to check-in, go through security, board, etc. Poor Justin wobbled out of bed to drop me off at around 4am. If you've ever flown, you know that arriving super early vs. just in time, it's always a gamble. You never know how packed the airport might be, or if it might be completely dead. Either way, you have to get there early.. just in case. Turns out, at 4am, GSP was dead as a doornail. They didn't even have anyone manning security until 20 minutes before our dinky flight took off. Whatevs.. I didn't mind waiting in line, especially when I'm this close to getting to go home! Once I checked in, I filed myself in a makeshift line, waiting for security to open. In this line, there were a fabulous mixture of people, especially ones that gave me quite a giggle at 4am. The elderly couple standing in front of me had matching, very swishy windsuits on, both with mini afro's hairsprayed into perfect little helmets. The man in front of them was standing in a peculiar position, dozing off every 30 seconds and startling back awake to check if anyone caught him drooling. The stumpy woman standing near the sleepy man kept huffing and puffing as her pocket-heavy carry-on suitcase kept tipping over. She proceeded to crouch into a sumo-wrestler's pose every time it tipped, and she yanked it back to standing position, patting it a few times to stay put. Of course, I couldn't help but giggle and text Justin every time I laughed out loud and got a dirty look.. I finally boarded the plane and had a pretty intense flight. I think we were feeling some of the wind from 'Hurricane Earl', because it was pretty bumpy and nerve-wracking. Not to mention, I couldn't stop imagining every single LOST scene relating to an eerie plane crash. At least now, I know how to survive on an Other-infested island! Despite some rough turbulence, I think the worst part of the flight was the smell. I don't know if it was the set of windsuit grandparents or what, but that plane wreaked of beeswax and antibacterial. On my connecting flight, I enjoyed quite a show, thanks to the man sitting in front of me. He was noticeably over-confident and pompous, if you ask me. He looked just like my neurologist and a strange resemblance Jack's dad, Christian Shepherd, from LOST (Go figure! Shouldn't you be in a casket, sir?). I watched as he handed a folded-up note to the flight attendant and instructed her to give it to a woman in first class. I watched the attendant give him a funky look and go shuffle back up to first-class, to hand the note to this twitchy woman who was suffering from some mega anxiety disorder. Little Miss Twitchy totally denied the poor guy. I felt a little bit embarrassed for him, and anyone else who witnessed the awkward transaction.

Since I'm rambling on about flying and airplanes, I suppose I should mention how I find people's behavior so comical the second the plane lands. Not only is every single person (except me, apparently) waiting for the unbuckle 'ding' to go off, while hovering their fingers over their seat belt like a trigger. It's almost like a choreographed competition to see who can unbuckle and launch out of their seat to the 1-foot-wide aisle, where nothing happens. Wait-a-minute, a lot happens. Whomever the "winners" are (those who unbuckled so swiftly and managed to eject themselves into a dead-end row of squeezing, shoving cellphone-holding-people who are breathing heavily, talking on the phone, texting and straining for their overhead carry-ons) end up looking like a bunch of Kindergarteners pumped for Chicken-Nugget-Day in the cafeteria lunch line. Really, people?

I don't know what's better..
  1. Having an aisle seat, so I can enjoy having my shoulder body-checked by every person who shuffles down the aisle for the bathroom, my elbow banged by the beverage cart and the opportunity to join the aisle-moshpit in effort to "rush off the plane" when really I'd end up standing there, smooshed, waiting for the seats ahead of me to exit first..
  2. OR a window seat, where I can sit back and enjoy the chaos of the traveling people surrounding me.
I would definitely prefer a window-seat, especially since I could care less about needing access to the bathroom. I have never even used an airplane bathroom - ever - and I wanna see how long I can go.

Before I knew it, I landed in MN. Ohh, home sweet home. The weather was phenomenal. 80's and 90's for the whole trip, but nothing near the humidity that we have in SC. I miss that. The second I landed (9:30am), my dear little mom came to pick me up and the day of shower shopping began. I had the whole day to pick up everything I needed, decorate and bake for Vanessa's first shower - her lingerie shower, inspired by Sophia Coppola's Marie Antoinette (check out my inspiration post here) happening the next evening at 7pm. We shopped all. day. long. By dinnertime I was exhausted, but had so much to do still. I was running on literally 2 hours of sleep and crummy jet lag. Wahh. Since Stacie was helping with the shower, she came over that evening to help decorate and get everything in order. Thanks to Caribou Coffee, we kept going 'til 5:30am the next morning.
Getting everything in order
All of the foods were pretty delish. It was exciting to try some new recipes I had found!

The shower was exciting and a total success. I can't thank my mom, Lanae & Stacie enough for all they did to help make it happen. *Check out my Marie Antoinette Shower blog post HERE.

The next day, I did NOT want to get up. My body ached and I was still exhausted from the last 2 nights with no sleep. We headed over to my Aunt's place for Shower #2 with my dad's-side Relatives. The shower was a fun little tea-party/brunch, in which every guest had to wear pink! I'm pretty sure I barely passed with my gray dress with little pink flowers... How is it that I don't own anything pink-pink?! My aunt made the most delish scones and breakfast bake (family tradition), which I had been looking forward to since I found out she was hosting a brunch. Yummy chocolate-covered strawberries and some painless games.. It was so nice to enjoy the morning without feeling the role of "Entertainer".

We like to keep it classy.. even at dainty little tea parties..

So great to see everyone!!! Especially, my cousins Annie & Stacy in town from Dubai & Scotland
Of course being guests rather than hostesses was short-lived, as Lanae and I had to cut out towards the end to begin prepping for the next round of relatives (my mom's side) to come over for Shower #3. We kept up all of the Marie Antoinette decor to use for this shower, and added a few things to incorporate a Circus/Moulin Rouge feel.

Mom & V

After the shower ended, we spent a few moments of relaxing before heading to a fun little dinner with our Aunt to one of her favorite restaurats, Mama Maria's in Hudson, WI.

She ordered for us - Champagne Chicken & Risotto - and it was flippin' amazing. We spent the evening laughing and catching up.. It was so nice to hang and enjoy our time together.

We finally conquered the 4th (and final) shower the next afternoon with family-friends. My parent's good friends hosted the shower and made it really special for Vanessa. We played some really entertaining games and enjoyed some yummy food and dessert. I even won the Bridal Bingo game, in which I chose the prize of a large vase full of Jelly Belly's (Justin is in heaven..)!

Just half of our group - Notice the vase full of jelly beans?? Eee!

Jon stopped by during the second half.. I love this picture of them!

Mom mom and I spent the rest of the evening bringing stuff back to Vanessa and Jon's new place, to help her get settled in. Their house is absolutely adorable!! The next day, I was a lucky girl.. It just so happened the MN State Fair was happening during my little trip home. How could I NOT go?! Best fair in the world, nothing even comes close!

First stop, Pronto Pup!
It was nice to meet Lanae's boyfriend for the first time during the weekend. He came along too..
My cute mum.. My partner in crime
We met up with our cousins @ Bazaar, where I got to spend more time with Sullivan - the happiest baby in the world
The fam (minus Vaness) & cousins in town from overseas
The last few years at the fair, we have MASTERED this awesome ride.. Augh. Whatta blast!
My flights home were a drag. It always sucks to have to travel after all the excitment and anticipation is over. For 1 of my 2 flights home, I had reserved a window seat (duh!) for myself, to hopefully catch up on sleep. As I board the plane, I find some dude, and his wife is sitting in my seat. It didn't bother me so much that they wanted to sit together, I totally understand. What bothered me is that they didn't even bother asking if I'd mind switching. When I saw her in my seat, I just said.. "Oops! I think you're in my seat [smile]" And the woman just ignored me. Kidding me right now? Mr. husband fumbles and says, "Ohh..uhh..ahh.. my wife.. is.. ohh.. her seat is right there.." Ok? What's your point? I reply, "Ok.. I suppose to should sit over here then?" and he just ignored me. Nice, dude. Thanks for forcing me to take your wife's crummy aisle seat, right next to a girl who's mouth was physically stuck open. The only smells coming out of her was pastrami and glue. She was puffy and unwilling to let me pull our shared armrest down. Come on, meat girl, I didn't exactly wanna cuddle! Thank goodness she fell asleep - puffy mouth still wide open - and I stole my chance to pull down the divider, to protect what was left of my personal space. Augh. Flying can really stink sometimes. Oh well, it beats driving, so for that - I'm thankful!

Although it's nice to be home, there's still SO much to do before heading back up in a week! I miss my fam.. It's so hard to live on the other side of the country from them. Lots of things have been going on the past couple days.. can't wait to blog about it! Soon soon..


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