I'm just so lazy that I can't even spell out the word M-I-S-C-E-L-L-A-N-E-O-U-S. You know it's bad when that becomes M.Monday. Next week it might just be 'MM'.

1. I didn't exactly make a formal announcement about my weekend plans, nor did I make an announcement that I'm back in one piece. But hey...I flew to St. Louis Thursday night, then drove to the Lake of the Ozarks Friday for the most outta control bachelorette party ever. Flew home Sunday and am seriously still recovering from the hilariousness. A few random smatterings of miscellany will suffice for this trip, as there were too many inside jokes and X-rated happenings to share with you publicly, dear internets.

2. A few things I can share: it was effing 100 degrees on Saturday, without including the humidity or heat index. Seriously? Great day to be on a boat ALL DAY LONG whilst drinking ourselves silly. Also, we are total meat heads. And we're old. That was the last b.party in sight for awhile now. Plus every single one of us on this trip was either married, engaged, or in a serious relationship. What losers!! How times change...

3. Okay, I lied. I will show you exactly 5 pictures of my 75 I took. I apologize for the hideous quality. It's really not that my point and shoot is THAT bad, but I was entirely preoccupied with partying to really pay attention to any settings on my camera. Whoops!

The whole crew Friday night. Don't even ask about her shoes....definite inside joke [a hilarious one, at that]:

The 3 of the Fab Five who were present. Did I mention that Hannah is pregnant. She is! More to come later. And since Kim is still living in freaking Korea.....it's just a trio right now, partying it up.

Click this one to make it larger. You get the full effect of before and after. Also, our boat was the freaking bomb. And Party Cove is probably the most frightening yet entertaining place on earth. I'll let you know when I get E.Coli from the disgusting water.

Ready for round three [after a long night Friday, all day on the boat Saturday, then showering up and ready to rip at the bar Saturday night]. The drumsticks are another inside joke. Pay no attention to the inflatable [dark] willie. This is a g-rated blog, remember?

And finally, the oldest man at Topsider: 'Doctor Bill.' Originally we thought he was the cutest thing known to mankind, with his impossibly short self. Then we discovered he was the world's biggest perv. Harmless, but pervy for sure.
More on facebook, if you happen to be my friend...

4. All of our husbands/boyfriends/fiances attended the groom's bachelor party up here in Milwaukee, while us ladies were chilling [no pun intended] down south. Nate was of course in his own little heaven with all of the boys on his home turf. I must say that our party seems to have been WAY more eventful. What can I say....my friends are just the most entertaining people alive. My how I miss them. But I do not miss the two-nighters anymore. I simply can't do it, you guys. Ick.

5. We are going to the Brewers game tomorrow [Tuesday] night. I might dry heave if I smell the beer. Such social butterflies we are these days!

6. Because we are also going to the fireworks at Summerfest on Friday [eeeeek! It's Summerfest time!], then The Fray concert on Saturday, and then next weekend I'm back to the STL for Lindsey's shower. After that we are off to KCMO for a wedding and a small trip to JCMO as well, to see my parents. I could go on with our hectic summer plans but really, what is there to complain about? Freaking awesome events coming up. I just hope I don't die of exhaustion.

7. Henry got a haircut and it's the cutest thing on the planet. Not at all like last time with the butcher-job.

8. Oooh, I just thought of a G-rated quote that I'd like to share from the bachelorette party. Some random dude who looked like Borat told me two things. One: "You remind me of an east coast girl." WTF? I mean, I definitely take that as a compliment but I'm pretty sure I'm a die-hard Midwesterner. Maybe he mistakes a hybrid Missouri/Wisconsin accent for a Boston one?

Then secondly: "You must date men who are subserviant to you." I informed him that I was married and flashed my rock. Then I added the funny little fact that my husband is quite the opposite of subserviant. He's the most stubborn person alive and I wish I could train him to get my way more often. Alas, I just have to put up with his non-subserviant ways. Woe is me. But isn't that a weird thing to tell a girl? Perhaps I was coming off as a wee bit strong willed. Hmmmm.....

9. I might take a little blogging hiatus for awhile. I just haven't been feeling it lately and with our insane summer schedule it might be difficult to keep it updated. We shall see. Hang in there with me, ladies. But don't be surprised if this post stays at the top for some time.

10. I'm so not into marathon training right now. Obviously, I think it has a little to do with my incredibly unhealthy weekend. Just so unmotivated.....17 more weeks. Ugh. Do I have it in me this time?

That's all I got right now. Perhaps I will go to bed at 9:15 tonight. Yes, that sounds delightful, doesn't it?

hello, crack

After much debate and plenty-o-beads-o-sweat on my upper lip, I now own one of these babies. Isn't she beautiful?

You see, it was time for my 'new every two' promotion with Verizon. It never gets old, really; every other year it's like a taste of Christmas for me as I am awarded a new fantastical phone for next to nothing. Does anyone else get this pumped for a new phone? Because we all know how the wireless phone gods behave if you happen to need a new phone before your 'magical' time: they throw their heads back and cackle at your poor soul, then request hundreds of dollars for the same crummy phone you had before The Incident. Take your pick with what 'the incident' entails....maybe it was stolen, lost, drowned in a cup of beer [ahem, never happened to me!]. But either way, if you can make it through those two years still holding onto that once very cool phone, you will be rewarded greatly.

That's why my new pimped out PINK Blackberry Curve was literally $0 after a mail-in rebate. The added monthly internet plan was pretty freaking cheap as well which made her even more tantalizing. Luckily, Nate helped me swallow my inner-tightwad fears on this one and splurge a little bit. Because let's get real: he wants one next year when it's his 'magical time.' He somehow convinced me it was worth it, even though I was worried it would be way too much phone for little ol' me. After all, aren't Blackberries for cut throat business professionals with complex schedules? So how does a puny health care professional fit into the BB plan? It turns out I like the internets and organization, my friends. Who knew?

Let's look at her again, shall we?
hello, crack
I mean, I'm not going to lie. I kind of freaked out about this whole thing, nearly settling for a less flashy more practical phone. It's totally frivolous, you guys, even if it only costs an extra $15 per month from our current plan. So what finally sold me? The fact that salesman dude told me about the 30 day trial period. And the fact that I justified quitting my gym membership to even out this new expenditure [which will actually put us in the positive since the gym is way more than $15/month]. I hate to exercise indoors during nice weather anyway, and really....I can do all of my marathon training outside for free with a little creativity.

Do you see how this purchase pained me so? I think I need professional help to loosen up about money. When did I get like this? I remember a day when I could spend money like water and it totally did not phase me. And now it's an ordeal---just ask Nate and the salesman dude. They were about sick of my antics at the store. But alas, I did it and I have a feeling I'll be keeping her. Just look at my wallpaper, you guys:
guess who's on the wallpaper!
So yeah, kind of freaking out a little bit because I have no idea how to work the beast. I read the entire owners manual and tinkered around quite a bit tonight so I feel a little better. Technology is both my best friend and worst enemy sometimes.

Now I wonder if I should just go all out and even join Twitter. It's basically the last 'social networking' site I have yet to claim. Am I going to be one of those people addicted to her phones? Probably. But I think I'm okay with it.

So who has a Blackberry out there? Any advice? Do you love?

In other news, I finished the Twilight series and oh em geeeeee. The last book 'Breaking Dawn' is by far the best ever. Eventful, suspensful, and TOTALLY worth all of the frustrations from the previous three books. In my opinion, the ending was decent but a little anti-climatic for me. I constantly wondered how the series would end and I guess it didn't disappoint too much. But holy cow the first third of the book was my fave. No more details but you get my drift. Now when, oh when, will they make movies #3 and #4? Because I'm totally going to mark it in my new Blackberry calendar.

Also, it's summer now. No seriously, it got up into the 80s this weekend and I thought the natives were going to die from heat stroke. Oh wait, that was me on Saturday when I ran 10 miles in the sweltering sauna. I will not complain, not for one second, because I loved it. But now I remember why we ran at 8:00 last summer instead of 10:00. Whoops! Defnitely got my first sunburn of the season because I'm pretty sure my SPF 15 moisturizer dripped off my sweaty face in about 20 minutes. Note to self: invest in sweat-proof sunblock. And drag yourself out of bed earlier. Because it's official: marathon training program begins this week. Eek!

What else can I ramble about for your entertainment.....oh yes! Today would be categorized as a good day even though I had to work all day long and it was insanely busy and stressful. Why? Because one of my co-workers acted shocked when I told her I am 28 years old. She said, "No, you can't be. I thought you were about 24!" I nearly kissed her smack dab on the forehead. No joke. I think she was even being serious, you guys. I'm SO in that stage of life when being mistaken for a younger age rocks. Wow, I'm old:)

And finally, I am going to the famous Lake of the Ozarks this weekend for Lindsey's bachelorette party. This will be b.party #2 of the year and it's sure to be every bit wild as the Chicago version. I just hope there will be a few G-rated pictures to share with you, my lambs. And I'm going to be honest and say I'm getting way too old for back-to-back nights of partying so I'm a bit nervous. So nervous that I will likely leave the SLR at home [gasp!] and settle for the point-and-shoot. Boats, lakes, and expensive cameras [and probably even Blackberries] do not mix in my book....you feel me?

Feel free to enlighten me about my new baby crackberry. And share your thoughts on Dear Edward and Bella if you so desire. I might re-read those amazing chapters again, just for fun...

Climate control

To the married women out there: do you ever wonder if you and your husband would be matched on those dating websites? I mean, don't sites like E-harmony and Match.com make each person fill out ridiculously long questionnaires to help identify key traits, similar tastes, and common goals? I met my husband in college but sometimes I catch myself wondering if the internet fates would have aligned us together unknowingly, should we have needed to go that route. Do our personalities fit together on paper as nicely as they do in real life?

There are so many ways that we are literally the same person, but just different genders. We're both first-borns, both leaders, and we're fairly outspoken ; we are active, competitive, and incredibly stubborn; we both feel satisfied helping others, thus the exact same career choice in health care; we're both sarcastic brats who put on a tough front while being tender-hearted on the inside; you get my point, I'm sure. But this post is about one big fatty difference we have. I wonder if the dating websites have a question that reads, "Would you rather die by heat or by cold?" because if they do, we'd never match up as potential soul mates.

Nate was born in Wisconsin which boasts extremely cold winters. I was born in Missouri which boats extremely hot and humid summers. We are both products of our environment, without a doubt, and for some reason this is just now hitting me after 2 years of marriage and 7 years together. It was obvious way back when, just by looking at our youngers selves in college.

Picture this: it's a cold and snowy day as college students walk to and from their classes, all bundled up in coats and gloves. Then you see this one girl literally running across the quad with her gigantic winter jacket pulled securely around every inch of exposed skin, hood and all. She does not stop to say hello to her friends, for she has her eyes on the prize---getting into the next building to shelter her from the cold. She becomes a mega-biyatch when the temperatures dip below freezing so you might as well let her run from class to class just to avoid her wrath.

Then there is this adorable Wisconsin transplant who decided to attend college in St. Louis. Neither he nor his northern parents had a clue what STL summers would be like, but they found out quickly as they moved their beloved son into the dorms in August (the hottest and humidest month eva). Said WI boy calls his mother after 3 days in a non-air conditioned dorm room and begs her to ship a window AC unit to him. He might die without it. He really might. He has now decided that Missouri summers are his own personal hell and he honestly does not know if he can survive four years in this heat. (Of course, it's all worth it in the end when he meets that crazy biyatch who sprints around to avoid the cold. He's glad he stuck it out in St. Louis, don't worry.)

Fast forward to present day: that guy and that girl got married, and because the dude endured Missouri summers for 7 years the chick decided to suck it up and take on Wisconsin winters for a few. It's only fair, right?

I sometimes forget that Nate's fragile northern body cannot handle temperatures above 75 degrees without being FORCED to complain about his discomfort. Case in point? Tonight's dinner time interaction that left me rolling on the ground in laughter while contemplating our differences in this marriage.

Nate: I have a bead that is about to drip.

Julia: No clue what you are talking about.

N: I'm sweating. It's so effing hot in here. I can't take it anymore.

J: (Note to self: the high for today was literally 74 degrees. It was approximately 68 degrees at the time of this incident.)

N: I mean, I take a hot shower, then stick my head in the oven, and proceed to eat steaming hot food. What part of that is going to cool me off?

J: Wait, why did you stick your head in the oven??

N: Because I had to pull out the stupid food! It made me even hotter!

J: You have got to be kidding me.

N: And why aren't any of our windows open right now? This is just ridiculous.

I then proceeded to laugh for about 5 minutes straight while staring at this irritated face:

Yes, I received death glares as I snapped away to commemorate this moment.


It really just makes me laugh harder, you guys. He's so cute when he's hot and angry:)

I think it just drives home the fact that despite our similarities, my husband and I will never see eye-to-eye on the 'perfect' climate. I'd take lying on a beach somewhere, drink in hand, while sweating my face off in 95 degree heat any day. He'd prefer to be downhill skiing in 0 degrees just because of all the fun outdoorsy gear he could wear for such an occasion. It's a lesson of compromise my friends: we both get to complain when the weather gets a little too extreme for our liking. That's normal, right?

Do other couples have this same climate control issue? How do you settle on a happy medium to avoid one of you moving to the Equator and the other to Antarctica? Yes, we are a marriage of extremes. And it makes me laugh at him when it's hot and cry for me when it's cold.

Textures and such

I had the most perfect weekend ever, filled with nothing at all but fabulousness. Seriously. For the first time in what feels like an eternity, the sun shone down on Milwaukee and gave us temps in the 70s. Nate and I went for a nice, warm 8 mile run together. Nevermind the fact that my stomach did not agree with the extraordinary warmth during the run, it was still fab. We saw The Hangover and laughed our rears off. We went to Starbucks and partook in Venti coffees [we're usually grande-types but there was no stopping us this weekend]. We slept in. We took naps. We did laundry. I had a girlie day with my mother-in-law complete with pedicures and girl talk. I read a ridiculous amount of Breaking Dawn [swoon! I cannot put this one down, for real]. And I took pictures.

I got really into textures this weekend. Please observe. The peonies made their way indoors and their fragrance seriously runs through our entire place. I love them.
Between the lamp and the sun from the windows, I had fun playing with light and textures on the petals.

Running with the pink theme, I figured my adorable new yoga mat fit the 'texture' bill, too.
yoga mat fun

And outside, one of the healthy green plants just begged for my attention.



Speaking of begging for attention....

It's been awhile since my little man got to have a photoshoot devoted entirely to his cute face. I figured it was long overdue. And yes, he loves my pink yoga mat as much as me.

Texture again. Don't you just want to pet his soft fur?

"Mother, please. It's time for my nap. Can't we do this later?"

Upon going outside, Henry discovered a mysterious patch of stank in the grass. Who knows if it was dead worms, unidentified poop, or just plain filth. This dude loves to roll in nastiness. And he's just too cute to scold, isn't he?

And finally, my two favorite pictures of Henry....his haircut is growing out, which makes him look constantly worried. Gotta love those little eyes, right? Such an expressive dog, really.


Sigh. The weekend. How I love thee. Why do Saturday and Sunday fly by at record speed but any other week day plugs along one second at a time.

Oh well, at least I got my Vitamin D this weekend. Sunshine equals automatic good mood for days in my book. Let the count down until Friday begin...

You made me a shadowboxer, baby

{Fiona Apple, anyone?}

Shadowboxes: I love them. They are the perfect little containers to hold memories, a collage of sorts, that bind up an event into a neat and tidy box. You know I'm all for scrapbooking but sometimes only a shadowbox will do.

For instance, I am acquiring quite the collection of 'race day shadowboxes.' First there was our first half marathon way back in 2005. Such babies we were, proven by the ages listed in our stats: 23 and 24 years old. Wow. I remember that day so vividly and making this shadowbox was fun, with all of my little added text and stats cut from the marathon program. Fun times:


Then comes my first full marathon shadowbox, only one medal this time [boo!] but with a few added running quotes/prayers. I needed those prayers on this day. I also kept the map of the course which included our notes about where my family could meet up with me along the way. I didn't add a picture to this one but that's fine by me...pretty sure I have a few in my 2008 album to view whenever I please:

And then there is our half marathon shadowbox from this year, in St. Louis. I found cute little 'official' clocks with our times online and printed those suckers out, just to add them into the box. I also kept a course map in there and added a little family pic just for fun. Can't go wrong with a little Henry in a shadowbox:

Breaking from my running theme, we have our wedding shadowbox. It's probably my fave, you guys. I kept one copy of each paper item from the wedding: our Save-the-Date, our invitation, our program, and our menu. Then I added my hair flowers my mom made for me out of her wedding veil and my great-grandmother's jewelry. Overall, this is one sentimental box full of happy memories and it hangs right above my dresser with prominence:

I've always wanted to make a wedding shadowbox for my friends who are getting married. It would be so easy: just keep their Save-the-Date, keep their invitation, grab an extra ceremony program, maybe try to snatch a menu or a place card or something from the dinner table, and then after their big day you could easily put one of these together for a friend. I've never actually done it because I wasn't sure if any of my bride-friends were doing something similar on their own. But I think it would make a fabulously personal gift, don't you?

And really, why stop with weddings? You could easily make a shadowbox for a new baby, too. Just keep the birth announcement, a shower invite or two, maybe print off some parts of their online registries, and DEFINITELY add a scan of an ultrasound to this guy. Once the baby is born I'd even add a picture of the newborn with his/her parents in the hospital.....maybe the official 'hospital' picture with the stats would be fun. I can see myself getting really into this one in the future...

Or even for graduation: how easy would it be to put the graduate's tassel, part of the ceremony program, a scan of the diploma, the high school/college symbol, and a few pictures into a shadowbox? Pretty easy. And quite personal.

I'm all about containing major life events into a perfect little box. Something about that just makes me feel content and happy, like those memories can be preserved in their own physical space in the world. Each box symbolizes so much more than pieces of paper and random objects. Tangible memories behind glass....that's what they are.

Maybe someday we'll have an entire room devoted to our shadowbox decor. A few more races, a baby or two, and Nate's graduation......I can see it now. And I cannot wait. :)

welcome, creep shows!

It's long overdue my friends. Keyword search terms, that lead some lovely readers to my blog. Let's all wave hello to the crazies! Especially the ones who use 10+ words as search terms:

1. Creepy, but good looking makeup {I can only assume we are referring to one Edward Cullen on this one? Very creepy yet good looking, indeed}

2. Comparison my life before and after i came to usa {I can't help you there, buddy, but you're still working on your English a bit, huh?}

3. Find the pale Wisconsinite pictures {LOVE this one. LOVE. Could be my new blog title all together}

4. How to loosen up and love life {really? You came here to read about this? Pretty sure I'm fairly uptight myself. Hmmm.}

5. I chopped off my hair may 2009 {Good for you? I didn't.}

6. Is a cockapoo asexual {He's a little metrosexual, actually, but definitely a male. A wussy male, but none the less}

7. Julia who is transitioning into female {again, with the sexuality. Am I undergoing a sex change now? I wasn't aware}

8. Slutty tinkerbell costume {Never have I talked about sluts, Tinkerbells, or many costumes for that matter. No clue but I think I love it.}

9. What's the name of the song that goes...shes sold three thousand and eight, you sold {are you serious with the 17 word search phrase? Really? And I can tell you right now, Fergie does not say "You sold 3008" it's "You so 3008". Duh. Even I know that}

10. I never have a dog in my life {okay. And your grammar is awful. }

And I also have a few Nate quotes for you, just for added entertainment:

1. "You need to start using your fork more like a shovel, like I do. You are such a pansy when you eat all slow and stuff." {yes, he called me a pansy and told me to use my silverware like an outdoor tool. Do you see why it's hard to control my portion sizes around here?}

2. "How is it possible that there are four Twilight books? What can they even write about for that many books? Are they still glistening?" {why, yes, they are. And when I told him that Bella and Edward might finally get to do it in the last book, he was not as excited as I'd hoped. His loss, right? Sigh.}

3. "Symbolism is for stoners. That's why I always hated English." {referring to the fact that deep, thought-provoking movies/books were made for stoners. I personally love symbolism but he thinks it's for people sitting around in a circle and contemplating imaginary undertones to complicated plots. I could not disagree more, but I love that he attributes symbolism to stoners.}

4. "Our marriage is basically like one big bachelor party, you know." {I wasn't aware of this fact.}


It's been awhile, huh? We're all a bit pooped around here, please forgive us:


Same old, same old up here. It's cold [in the 40s-50s] and raining non-stop. I'm having a hard time believing it's actually JUNE, Mother Nature, but the promise of warmer weather is near. You see, the peonies are finally blooming! Little round buds are appearing and I couldn't be happier:
bubble gum pink peonies to come
I realize that you southerners have probably seen your peonies bloom and die already, maybe even weeks ago. But up here in this alternate universe we are just acclimating ourselves to signs of life. And with the rain I will admit it makes for some pretty pictures. Here is one of the pale pink buds:
closed buds after rain

And one of the red raspberry buds:
red version

And lookie! One bud has opened into an actual flower already! Sigh, so pretty. Have I mentioned my love for pink peonies before? They remind me of my wedding bouquet of course:)
peony in pink

So I thought I'd take this opportunity to show a couple editing tricks, since I rarely mention the process. I use Photoshop CS on all of my images and usually I'll just tweak the contrast, sharpness, or definition. For instance, here is the image straight out of the camera:
Not bad, but a little fuzzy and boring for my tastes.

So here it is again after using the 'Define and Sharpen' action from PW, then 'Boost' afterward. I'll mess with the opacity on each function so it's not TOO corrected.
define, sharpen, boost

Or here's my version after manually correcting the color and sharpening the image just a touch. I've gotten better with PS lately, and don't have to rely on actions all the time. I like how the raindrops are crystal clear here, and how the pink pops a bit more:
sharpened, color adjusted

After a little cropping to fit the 'rule of 1/3', here's what you get:
crop to rule of 1/3's
Just a subtle difference from the original, but enough editing to make it a little better.

Sometimes I like to edit the images for more drama, a little extra artsy flair, depending on the picture. For instance, here is an image after playing with the color balance and the contrast:
subtle adjustment

And here it is after "boosting" a bit more:
clearer definition

And if you want to get really crazy, you could use PW's Colorized to make it seem more dreamy:

But really, isn't editing all about personal preference anyway? I know I'm not a big fan of heavily Photoshopped images but there are plenty of people out there who appreciate that kind of 'perfection' in an image. The thing about PS is that just when I think I master a technique, I realize that there is even more to learn. It's such an intimidating program with endless possibilities. The more you use it, the more you learn. But sometimes I like the original just as much as the finished product---go figure.

Now if only I could convince myself to splurge on a macro lens....then my raindrop images would be even better. See? It's a never-ending, addicting process.

Hope everyone is staying dry and enjoying the weekend! What's the weather like where YOU live? June is such a weird month...
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...