Story of Us part I

You smell that? It's the scent of our first anniversary hanging in the air. And in the weeks leading up to the big celebration [May 27, for those of you who forgot] I will be sharing bits of our story. And don't worry, I promise not to be all sappy and nauseating. We have some funny stories, okay?

Let's start at our very beginning. Want to see me on the night I met my husband? Are you sure?
BAM. I know, try not to spit coffee on your monitor. It was Tacky Prom---which in Gamma Phi Beta lingo means "The best event EVER because we get to dress in Goodwill 80's dresses." And make stupid faces for the camera. And meet our future husbands while wearing said 80's dresses. Ah, glory days. Why did you leave me?

This event was a switch with Nate's fraternity. I searched high and low to find a picture of my meat head that night, but apparently he didn't purchase party pics like I did. Curse those boys and their lack of photography skills! If I remember correctly he was dressed as this guy from The Village People. Mustache, facial expression, and all:Our first encounter was rather odd. Nate was talking to my friend in the picture with me. I marched right up to him, and interrupted their conversation with, "Do you know who I am?" VERY sure of myself, right? His response: "I can't remember your name, but I know you drive a black Mazda SUV."

Okay, creepy stalker boy who knows what I drive. Seriously? He was correct, by the way. Same car I have today.

I remember him asking if I liked his mustache and I informed him [without hesitation] that it was probably the most disgusting thing about him. Our first conversation was full of cockiness, attitude, and big egos. It was meant to be, I tell you:)

But our infamous second encounter trumps the first. To my family members out there, I hope I've reached the age where my foolish past doesn't disappoint you anymore. I don't think I shared ALL the details of our second encounter before. So here goes nothing...

It was the weekend before my 21st birthday and I had just attended our Spring formal with my hot date, Allison:) Because we enjoyed staying out until 3 a.m. and socializing in smoky bars [makes me want to gag now] we made the trek to Humphreys----otherwise known as the bar that stole all of my money in college.

Nate was there and we began to chat again. As I whipped out my fake ID I set myself up for the worst pick up line known to mankind. I asked him, "Doesn't this girl look just like me? It's such a great ID." He paused for a moment while he pondered the license, then said with the straightest face ever: "Yeah, if you lost thirty pounds."

THIRTY FREAKING POUNDS? As a member of the female species I was appalled. Dumbfounded. Furious. I didn't understand my future husband's dry [sick] sense of humor back then. And I wanted to strangle him that night. So I did what any sane woman would do and I sought out support from my best friend, Hannah. Actually, I dragged her by the arm from the other side of the bar to meet this Giant Pike Jerk. And like a good best friend she continued to yell at him while I shot him my best biyatch face.

What did Nate do, you ask? Apologize? Make things right? Nope. He laughed. He thought it was the funniest thing ever and from that moment on, he learned how to push my buttons. And I couldn't let it go. In fact, we stayed up until 5 a.m. that night talking both in person and on the phone. I'm pretty sure most of our conversation went like this:

J: "I cannot believe how much I hate you."
N: "Give me a break, I was kidding with you. You're not fat."
J: "Your sense of humor is not funny. It's stupid. And you are a jerk."

But obviously there was something special between us or I wouldn't have cared so much. If he tried to pull that line on me now, 6 years later, I would rattle off some stellar comeback without missing a beat. That's what years of sarcasm will do to you. It hardens your heart:)

And then there is our first picture together, from the PT pub crawl night. It was the night we decided we were officially dating. "Boyfriend/Girlfriend" or whatever kids these days call it. I wish I could reach out and shake these two crazy kids and say, "Do you realize that you are going to spend the rest of your lives together? Quit ignoring that little voice in your head that tells you this is The One."

Because it was hard for me to let my guard down and just enjoy our relationship. But that little voice in my head finally talked some sense into me and here we are, six years later. Things have changed and things have stayed the same. But no matter what, one thing is certain: my husband has no game. Who says that to a girl in a bar without getting slapped? :)

Anyone else have funny stories from 'the early years?'

Stay tuned for more...

House anyone?

If you are in St. Louis and want to buy or rent a fabulous house [or know someone who does], please read on. 

My best friend Hannah owns a house in Richmond Heights and it's for sale. It just so happens to be the house where 1. We brought Henry into our lives, and 2. Nate proposed to me! It's pretty special--not just for the personal sentiment attached--but because it's super cute. All hardwood, updated kitchen, brand new windows, 2 bedrooms upstairs plus a nice finished den/3rd bedroom in the basement. 

Here are some pictures:

Now for the important stuff:
Asking price to buy the home is $164,900
Asking price to rent the home is $1250/month
Hannah would also consider a rent-to-own option for anyone who doesn't have the money right now but wants in on the buyers market. 
And they are definitely willing to negotiate!

Here is the official listing on Coldwell Banker's site
And if you want to email Hannah for details, contact her at Hoonah319 at yahoo com

And no, I'm not getting paid to pimp this house all over the web. I'm just nice like that:)

lightbulb moment

Maybe I don't have to scream PINK in my title. Maybe the website itself could have the color pink involved somehow. You know, like a pink font or something. Which means I could start my list over again:)

And apparently I cannot use a pre-existing name even when it lacks a copyright sign. Blasted legal issues! Goodbye, Citrus Pink.

Don't mind me, just thinking out loud...


Everyone knows I can be a bit anal at times. Okay, severely anal to the point that I annoy myself. It makes me want to gouge out my own eyes with a spoon and I can only blame both of my parents for this trait. :)

So spending one entire car ride [6 hours] writing down words for my business wouldn't cut it in my world. No, I had to spend a good portion of my day on Saturday doing the same thing but with the almighty internet backing me up this time.

I Googled names I like to see if they are taken. I thought out loud. I hurt my brain a little bit. And I thoroughly irritated my husband [score 10 points!]

Here is what I have to show for it:
Let me elaborate on the part about annoying Nate [the best part]. After spending way too much time asking, "What about ______" inserting two completely unrelated words into the blanks, Nate cracked. He did. He really lost it and I find that amusing.

N: "JULIA. I cannot keep telling you that I like all of your options. When will you stop this madness?"
J: "What about Pink Icing? I like icing on cakes and it's kind of like the icing on top of a wedding day."
N: [in a mocking tone] "What about Pink Pepperoni and Sausage? I like pizza. And what about Pink Chocolate? I like both of those."
J: "Okay, knock it off. I get it, dude."
N: [again, mocking me] "What about Pink Nipple? Or Tainted Pink?" [I will not give him the satisfaction of responding to these.]
J: "Seriously. Here is my list, what do you think?" [shoving both mega lists under his nose.]
N: "I HATE Pink Bliss. That is so incredibly gay. I hate it."
J: "All the more reason to choose that one, my dear."

No but really, I have issues with the name game. It's such an important step and I want to get it right.

And now I present to you more options, my friends. Feel free to tell me I'm crazy. OR just vote for your favorite. Whatever suits your fancy.

1. Sweetie Pink [or Sweetly Pink]

2. The Pink Giraffe [Nate has always said I resemble a giraffe. I'd probably have to add 'studios' to the name because the simple version is already taken.]

3. The Pink Lime [something about this one makes me thirsty and I envision a fabulous website]

4. Citrus Pink [technically there is a design firm in London with this name but it doesn't have the little copyrighted sign next to it. Does that mean I'm okay?]

5. The Pink Pair [because my metro hubby likes to wear pink as much as me, let's get real. I really wanted it to be The Pink Pear but that one is for sure taken.]

6. Twist of Pink [reminds me of a fruity drink. Do you see a theme here? Fruit and the color pink?]

7. Shiny Pink Designs [meh.]

8. Framed in Pink or The Pink Frame [the only one with some sort of link to albums]

9. The Pink J

10. [or one without my color, and rather boring but professional] Defining Life Album Design

I know, I know, it's overwhelming. And it's not that I don't love the ones you mentioned in comments last time. But nothing has hit me like a ton of bricks. It's kind of like finding your soul mate, or your wedding dress.....aren't you supposed to 'just know?'

I never bought that crock before. So I don't know why I'm so indecisive now. Probably because I'm a tiny bit insane:)

pictures fixed

Please look in the below post and tell me you see tons of pictures. If not, I'm going to be VERY irritated.

Last night and this morning the pictures were absolutely fine. And I come home to find them missing? Unacceptable and annoying.

Go investigate for me now, please....

Golden indeed

So today is my golden birthday. Twenty seven on the twenty seventh. 27 years old. Wow. For some reason this age makes the leap to 30 so much closer than it was last year.

Thirty---an age that wee high schoolers see as 'old.' Ancient, in fact. I always thought by age 30 I'd have it all figured out. I'd be married [check], have a career [check], with tons of kiddos running around my house [screech to a halt on both counts.] Okay so I have three more years to make my ideal thirty year old status, but who's counting.

The point is I woke up this morning feeling exactly the same as any other day. Besides the voice of my loving husband, who happens to be 4 months my junior, saying: "Good morning, Grandma! Would you like DECAF coffee this morning for your aching bones?"

The only time I enjoyed being older than Nate was when I turned twenty one before the young buck. And now? It's all downhill from here:)

So onto my birthday weekend. And yes, I still cling to the philosophy that us ladies get a whole weekend to celebrate our existence. Not just one measly little day. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise, girls.

First, I would like you to watch this fabulous video sent to me by Keri. Consider it preparation for next weekend's trip to Kansas and please note Keri's skin color for further entertainment:

Too cute kind of like this little guy:

Saturday night we went out to dinner and I forced Nate to take a few pictures with me. He insisted on using the self-timer which turned out to be fairly stressful. Out of the dozens of pictures we snapped here are two classics:

Onto dinner at a trendy restaurant called Sake Tumi. Get it? Sock it to me? I love martinis and beer in contemporary glasses. And on my birthday weekend I get a free pass to take tons of pictures in public.Can you spot the newlyweds amidst the alcohol?

I couldn't make up this name:
Mmmmm, maki rolls! Again, on my birthday I get a pass to eat fish even though Nate *claims* he is allergic. I missed sushi and will be dragging him back to this place very soon.

After dinner we went to Alterra for a typical old couple night cap: Coffee! Well, he got coffee and I settled for Chai Tea. I didn't want to risk being up all night because I'm officially geriatric.

Sunday morning, my birthday! I got my homemade pancakes and devoured them with fury. Did I mention that carbs are my best friend?

Isn't he adorable in the kitchen? He's making my cake in secret!
We had to borrow Lois' cake holder and it's 1970's fabulous. And it matches our kitchen:)
And the end result? Chocolate and pink goodness. He did well, my friends.

Sunday night we also went to dinner, but this time with Tony and Lois. We chose Italian and it was the bomb.
Onto the presents! I received an adorable handmade card from Sara---who just so happens to share my birthday, is married to a Nate, and is transplanted to Wisconsin from another state. And she loves crafting as her fabulous card entails:
Speaking of crafty, Mom also made a 'refrigerator worthy' card, too:
Nate managed to push my buttons while simultaneously giving me my birthday gift. He offered it to me with his signature 'up to no good' smile on his face. Of course that made me suspicious but he insisted that I just open it. As I reached for my gift wrapped in hot pink [good boy!] I heard a rattle that could only be one thing. Golf balls! That bastard gave me golf balls to force me into his sport. Take a look for yourself:Such a sneakster wrapping his own golf balls into my gift. I got the I-pod shuffle, fit for running in style. Now I can banish my Big Bertha I-pod to our docking system and this baby is going to help me train. No, it's not pink which is somewhat of a bummer. But apparently shuffles don't come in pink, so aqua is the second best option.

Other gifts? Memaw and Pepaw sent me a blissful 60 minute massage and spa pedicure gift certificate. Nate was an integral part in planning this pimptastic gift and I cannot wait to schedule my pampering. My toes are looking pretty horrific right now and San Diego is looming!

Plus, Tony and Lois gave me a nice gift certificate to J.Crew! I smell some 'vacation gear' coming up!

So that's it. My golden birthday. Long post but worth it, right? Thanks to everyone who left me texts, messages on facebook/myspace, and emails. It's nice to be loved:)

STL Fundraiser Set!

For everyone asking about a St. Louis fundraiser here is your event. I had to add some of my favorite Flickr pink pictures in honor of this occasion and just because I like them.[Daisy1 by Curio Art]

When: Saturday, May 10th
Where: Rbar [a popular SLU bar for those non-college friends]
Time: From 7pm-3am
Price: $10 at the door will get you drink specials all night long. The bar is donating 100% of this cover fee to Keri.
Theme: PINK! Everyone should dress in the most fabulous color ever created. Between supporting Breast Cancer and it being Keri's favorite color you can't go wrong.
Other excitement: There will also be a raffle for Cardinals baseball tickets, so get excited for that as well!

[Definition of Pink by Claudia1967]

Contact Katie at if you have any questions.[by Claudia1967]

[as a side note, I have to work that weekend. Of course I do! Don't even get me started. So I'm slightly bitter that I'll miss this one. It would melt my ice cold heart to see some blog followers go to this event to support Keri. Pictures of you dressed in pink required.][Dublin-St. Stephen's Green by little.jafa]

Keri and business

Two very unrelated topics, but I need to share:

1. I spoke to Keri tonight after work. As you probably read on her site she got good news today! The egg retrieval went very well and they froze 8 eggs. That is a fantastic number---can you just imagine 8 little Keris running around? Obviously that just means her chance at having her own children in the future is much higher with multiple eggies.

Whew. What a relief. Now the fertility stuff is over and she can focus on her chemo. Plus one week from tonight I'll be packing my bags for Kansas! So. Freaking. Excited.

Also, on a Keri note, a lot of you are reading my blog to follow her story [which is understandable, as it's a powerful story.] I know this because my Google Analytic numbers have jumped a LOT since I started posting about her. On a typical day I'd get about 200 visits or so, more always on Monday and the least on a Saturday. Well now? Take a look:That big peak was last Thursday, after I posted my "Official Request" post for Keri. It was my most popular post and biggest hit day with 298! This week has also been well above 200 each day, so I guess the pressure is on to stay exciting, huh? :) At least I know I can slack off over the weekend and people won't notice.

2. Business: I'm very serious about this album design business. I have five girls who have officially asked me to make their album and I'm ridiculously excited about it. In fact, I need to wrap this up so I can work on my first client's album.

But I need your help. I want to make a little website with information and pretty pictures to make this a reality. I can't resist the idea of ANOTHER internet site to waste my time:) So it goes without saying that I'm deciding on a name for my little business. I was afraid it was too early, and might jinx my success---but now I really want to do this right and make it a legitimate dream.

For the name I want it to represent me. I want it to be clear that this is an album design company. I love the idea of capturing images from the computer and putting them onto paper. I love the concept of making your previous memories a current reality through an album. Deep, huh?

On the car ride home Monday I started jotting down words that I like hoping the name would form itself. But still, I got nothing but a list of words. So you wanna help? Here is the list of my words:

sparkle [that one is for you, Erin N.]
slice of life
return to the moment

So the idea would be something like: "Tangible Memories [Album Design]", or "Pink Bliss [Album Design]," or "Sparkle by Julia [Album Design]."

Those are dumb but you get my idea, right? I'm hoping for some brilliance here, girls. So put on your thinking caps and help a sister out.

That is all. I apologize for the lack of pictures lately but I have a multi-picture post in the wings:)


It seems a little like a Monday to me. So here are my random thoughts for the day:
  • Reason #267 why I could never be a nurse? The 12 hour shifts. I worked a full 12 today which means I was gone from our duplex for 13. NOT COOL. I would probably bang my head against a wall [even more than I do now] if I had to work that long regularly.
  • One reason why I had to work so late? Because I'm a push over. I took on one too many projects at work including being in charge of the weekend schedule. It goes without saying that this job totally sucks. Nobody wants to work weekends and it's a total PITA. But I get to organize information and make pretty charts so I'm all over it:)
  • Did anyone else forget that it was Earth Day today? I'm a bad person I guess.
  • Just as a reminder, my birthday is Sunday. And Nate just said he might make me pancakes for breakfast that morning! A man after my own heart!
  • If I had to give up carbs I would probably die. No joke. I'd actually cease to live.
  • One time in college [when I convinced myself that I was gaining the freshman 15] I tried the Atkins Diet. Let's just say I was quite unpleasant during that time in my life. I even gave up caffeine which was an unfortunate mistake----caffeine withdrawl headaches most definitely rival heroin withdrawl. Not that I'd know first hand but seriously. It was bad news.
  • How do you guys feel about the following situation?: Nate informed me on the ride home yesterday that he NEEDS golf lessons. Why, you may ask? Because then he can fix his swing and will enjoy the game even more. I didn't realize it was possible to like golf anymore than my husband and the last time I bought him a lesson, he swore it ruined his swing forever. Thoughts? Should I condone this purchase again?
  • Did I mention that I get to visit Keri [and Allison] in less than 2 weeks? So freaking excited. And in case you aren't reading her website, she starts chemotherapy the day before we arrive.
  • Speaking of Keri, last week [when I had some free time] I did some research online because I'm Type A like that. And I found a diagram of her breast cancer which I find fascinating. She has invasive ductal in situ carcinoma. Which looks like this:

The purple dots are the cancer cells that have spread beyond their nice little capsule. I have no idea why I find this type of factual research comforting, but I like getting real information. And that is the only picture you will get in this post.
  • Last question: it has to do with the green stuff, which my fabulous financial advisor [ahem, Lindsey] prefers to stay off my blog. But seriously, I need some feedback. Should we take out school loans for Nate's three years of schooling? That would mean we can save more for our 'down payment/baby/emergency fund' and once we have two incomes [I might pass out] we could pay off his loans much faster. It would get us into a house sooner and allow us to pay off loan debt once we have more money to do so.
  • Or should we avoid any loans and just pay for the tuition straight up? It will probably be around 36K for his degree, which we can afford in the next three years, but it will take a major chunk out of our hard earned savings. We'd have to wait much longer on a house.
  • My personal thought is this: maybe we can take out SOME loans while paying for some on our own. Kind of like Miley Cyrus, the best of both worlds. But what do you guys suggest?

Ah, St. Louis.

We made it back from our St. Louis trip and it was fabulous as always. Of course it ended too soon and we're already talking about when we can go back. For some reason this trip left me feeling a little homesick with a twinge of sadness. Maybe it was because the weather was to die for and we got to see almost all of our old buddies. And maybe it was because it's been one heck of a winter up here and we really needed to get away. But I miss our friends and our old town [and I've rarely said that since we left]. I'll be fine once we get back into our daily routine but we really do need to make more of an effort to see our friends 'down south.'

Oh, and just to clarify....neither my family nor Keri live in St. Louis. Just old friends and lots of memories:) I lived there for 8 years including my college years and it definitely feels like home.

Okay, onto the pictures. I'll start by making my fellow Milwaukee girls see, St. Louis has a season called 'Spring' and it's fabulous. Warm weather, green grass, FLOWERS, and budding trees. I almost forgot what Spring looks like. So I had to take a bajillion pictures to remember:)

I know, it's sickening, isn't it?

And onto the weekend events: we got into St. Louis much earlier than expected because work let us go early on Friday. Talk about a nice surprise!

When we arrived Hannah, Kim, and Maggie were waiting for us with lots and lots of vino. Nate called it an early night but us chicas had a lot of chatting to do. In fact, we stayed up until 4 a.m. which technically makes us really cool and young again. Let's just say I didn't feel too young the next morning but that's another story.

My picture from Friday night? Our rings, of course. Sometimes I pretend to be a wedding photographer, didn't you know? We took all of our rings to the jeweler the next day for a good cleaning. That is why I had them laid out so nicely and I couldn't resist a little snapshot:)

Saturday: after a rough ride to said jeweler, Hannah and I attended lunch with five other girls at The Boathouse. They've made it a monthly event because even though they all live in St. Louis I suppose it's still difficult to make time for 'girl time'. This month's meal just so happened to fall over my visit and it was so much fun to see the girls. Unfortunately my camera was hiding under my bag in our guest bedroom and didn't make it for the lunch. I know, I'm embarrassed of myself, too.

Nate drove to Columbia to golf with my dad....ALL.DAY.LONG. We are talking 27 holes, people. I guess they had some male bonding time and endured some pretty yucky weather in the name of swinging their clubs. Mom sent my birthday gift along with Dad and look at how pretty it was! A book, a journal, and a ticket to Kansas to see Keri! I love my Mom and birthdays. A lot.

That night the whole crew [boys included this time] went to dinner and out for drinks. 'The Fab Five' was reunited and such events call for a picture. Yes, my camera was uncovered in time for our night out.

Lindsey is going to kill me for this picture but it's too funny to ignore. She had the hiccups and I told her my secret remedy: you have to paralyze your phrenic nerve to stop your spasming diaphragm [I know, I'm a medical dork.] So here is her version of the technique:Only problem? This picture makes her look like she's missing teeth! Look closely and you'll see what I mean. We laughed for a good 10 minutes over this shot.

Meanwhile, Nate found $5 on the ground of the bar. So he popped it into this scratch off ticket machine. You'll never guess what happened next...

He won $150!!! From a free $5 bill! Of course I immediately yelled, "Put those puppies in your pocket, dear. Let's not spend it right away." Classic, right?

Sunday: I went to brunch at the yummy Square One Brewery with some internet gals. I've never met any of them so it was fun to visit in real life. It was a blast and I hope we do it again.
After the brunch I decided to go for a run in the beautiful weather, followed by a long walk with Hannah and the dogs. No big deal, right? It's not like it was tropical or anything but look at the results:
Sweet sports bra and tank top sunburn! And look at what Nate brought home:
The most fabulous golfers tan ever! This just proves a sad but true fact: we are officially northerners now. Our skin is so pasty white it's disgusting and this Wisconsin weather turned us into delicate flowers. As Nate put it, "I'm white as snow" and apparently we melt in warm weather now.

This has me slightly worried for San Diego but I guess we'll live. I swear I used to have a permanent tan! What happened?!

Sunday night Hannah and Michael bar-b-qued some amazing burgers for us. It was so nice we even got to sit out on their rooftop deck and bask in the glory of a Spring evening. Sigh.

Monday morning we went to breakfast with Ryan at Soulard Coffee Garden and again, we ate outside in the sunshine. Nate and Ryan are long lost buddies and it was great to catch up with him, too. Four cups of coffee later we decided to hit the road.

Goodbye, glorious Arch!
Henry was completely pooped, as you can see. This is his standard position for car rides:
Panting is required as well:

Long drive home with boring scenery, indeed. But I do appreciate the "Mercedes Sign" windmills along the way. Gotta love Illinois!

So that is it, our fabulous weekend in pictures. Much needed and thoroughly enjoyed. And now back to the real world up north [with welcoming warm weather included!] Plus, I have my first album design project for a real client. I'm so excited!
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