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Baseball is HERE

1 Apr

The day has finally arrived. I’ve been anxiously awaiting this day’s arrival since last fall. Today marks the first official day of BASEBALL SEASON! While I’m no major league team owner or savvy businessman, as a fan I wasn’t exactly thrilled with the Minnesota Twins’ off-season moves (or lack thereof). They got rid of some good players for, what I would argue, too little in return. The Pohlad’s make money, there’s no doubt about that. How about throwing a little of your bazillions at Minnesota’s only major league baseball team to get a team worthy of contending?

Target Field at night

Alas, I am a baseball fan nonetheless. I will cheer for the Twins regardless of how much their owners don’t invest in them.

However, as a baseball fan, I am excited for Mariano Rivera; he is returning to the game for his final season and he looks just as good as he did pre-injury. Even though I don’t want to admit it, my special someone has opened my eyes to appreciate the way other teams and players play the game – including his absolute favorite player, Derek Jeter. It broke my heart to see his ankle snap in two and I wish him well on a speedy recovery to finish out what is a remarkable career.

Even though the snow is basically still falling, I’ll say what I’ve been waiting to say since late last fall: LET’S PLAY BALL!

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Growing Up

10 Mar

This past weekend – with the weather’s cooperation – I had the opportunity to be reunited with some of my dearest friends from college. One of these good friends, Brad, and his fiance Kira were married on the beautiful shorelines of west Maui’s Kaanapali Beach at the Royal Lahaina Resort on Monday, February 25, 2013. While Pat and I tried everything we could to make it Maui (who wouldn’t WANT to go to Hawaii?!), it wasn’t in the cards. Thankfully, Brad and Kira decided to have a ‘welcome home,’ traditional wedding reception once they returned to the mainland for friends and family who weren’t able to jet across the pacific for their beautiful Maui vows.

Their wedding reception was a perfect mix of Hawaii-meets-Wisconsin. The ballroom was lined with turquoise-blue lights, creating a tropical underwater ambiance; there was fresh fruit adorning the outskirts of the ballroom, with a heavy focus on pineapples; the welcome table donned a beautiful surfboard, while the table centerpieces were beautiful pear-shaped glass jars filled with seashells with a starfish resting on the outside. Meanwhile, cheese and beer were a-plenty, keeping true to their Wisconsin-flair.

The thing I love most about this group of friends is we can pick up right where we left off; there’s no awkward silence or conversation about “what’s new” with each other’s lives. We say a couple quick things about what’s going on with work, the latest with our families and go on as if we just saw each other last weekend. This is true friendship. The smiles grow and there is never a shortage of laughter.

Three musketeers

The three musketeers are now all married. I’m the one wearing the dress.

Madison friends

Madison family – reunited.

I can’t urge this to new graduates enough: keep in touch with your core group of friends from college, even if its one big get together for one weekend per year. Just do it. College is where your closest friendships and professional relationships began to blossom; don’t lose track of people you lived in some of the crappiest conditions with. These people were your family in your home away from home. The memories of the crappy houses get funnier as each year passes, and even though you may not live with or next door to each other anymore, the strong friendships (or for us, our ‘Madison family’ ties) still remain. Even though its been six years since (most of us) we graduated, we still make time for each other’s life events – and the random annual get together. And I wouldn’t miss any of them for the world.

The Beautiful People Seats

31 Jan

In November 2011, I was a victim of a layoff. Well, technically it was a “company closing” so they had no choice but to let all of their staff go, so it was a forced-layoff. I had been married to my (wonderfully supportive) husband for just over two months – and it was one of the most difficult phone calls  I’ve had to make to him. I was more upset of the position I was putting him in than I was about my actual layoff. Fortunately, as I blubbered to him on the phone, he put me at ease encouraging me that we would be ok; we’re fighters and we would get through it – together.

I was unemployed for three months before I got the opportunity of a lifetime. In the midst of my hundreds of resumes I sent out, I took a chance applying for a position that I knew I wasn’t qualified for. Jen, Ted, Josh, Chris and John took a chance hiring me with little to no experience in online marketing – and I couldn’t be more thankful. I’ve learned more in the last year than I did in the two years prior and I finally feel like I found a career with a future. I continue to learn every day and I love the people I work with.

Working at my current place of employment has some awesome perks, including random drawings of tickets for Timberwolves games. While I am not the biggest basketball fan, I do enjoy going to sporting events to people watch if anything (though nothing beats people watching at the State Fair). I was recently selected as one  of the lucky recipients of a pair of tickets to a Timberwolves game…. in ROW TWO.

Ricky Rubio Timberwolves tickets

Not only did we have seats in row two, they were directly behind the visiting team’s bench – and we sat right behind Tim Duncan! He wasn’t playing due to some injury, but he was still there. It was a nationally televised game on ESPN, so I made sure Pat wore some classier clothes than the sweatpants he is used to sporting around.

Who usually sits in these seats? Beautiful people, that’s who. We felt like celebrities or superstars sitting in row two seats. We’re used to sitting in the rafters, squinting to see where the ball is or trying to differentiate between paint on the floor and the team’s new jerseys. We were able to classify ourselves as part of the “beautiful people” crowd, even if it was just for one night.

Beautiful people seats

Though the Timberwolves lost, we had a blast people watching (the older couple in front us, in particular) and taking in what the beautiful people get to see on a regular basis. Thank you for the awesome tickets, John!

follow friday, wedding dress edition

25 Jan

Today I was thrilled to be joining my beautiful cousin Jenna as she embarked on the ever exciting, yet dreaded, wedding dress shopping. While in Florida for her and her fiance Andy’s annual January trip, she went dressing shopping with a friend and surprising even herself, found THE dress. So while she thinks she already found THE one, she wanted to try on some dresses in Minnesota to further ensure to herself she did find THE dress.

Miss Jenna Sue started her wedding dress shopping escapade at Bella Bridal Boutique in Woodbury; I unfortunately was not able to attend because of work, but had my sister take and send pictures of each dress Jenna tried on. She looked stunning in all of the pictures my sister sent me.

Second stop on the bridal dress train was The Wedding Shoppe on Grand Avenue in St. Paul. I was fortunately able to join for this stop, while my sister had to jet off to work; we traded places and I, in turn, sent her pictures of dresses Jenna tried on here. I (personally) loved everything about The Wedding Shoppe; the attendant was helpful, the experience, the dress selection, the cute little old house the shop was in – everything. And, even though Jenna pretty much had her mind made up on the dress, the attendant encouraged her to get the dress she wanted, without trying to hard sell the dresses she was bringing to try on.

When I went wedding dress shopping, I started my trek online by looking at hundreds of dresses before stepping foot in a store; ironically, I had picked out one dress (which ended up being THE dress) on two different websites. But I regretfully purchased THE dress at David’s Bridal. I would highly recommend anyone looking to purchase a wedding dress to avoid David’s Bridal at ALL costs. I had a horrible experience from the start, but feared that if I looked elsewhere I wouldn’t be able to find that dress again. I foolishly fell victim to their ‘scare’ tactics, purchasing my dress then and there on my first dress shopping experience, losing out on visiting The Wedding Shoppe – or other bridal boutique gems around the Cities. I still love the dress I wore on my wedding day, but would have preferred avoiding the headache of dealing with David’s Bridal.

Pat and I already have four weddings to attend this year – and we can’t wait to celebrate with our friends and family about to start the rest of their lives with the ones they love. Andy and Jenna are having a destination wedding, in beautiful Aspen, Colorado where they got engaged. I am pumped we are invited to attend and can’t wait to see the beautiful fall colors gracing the mountain sides. From their post-engagement pictures, it looks GORGEOUS – and they will have some killer wedding photos. Congrats again Jenna Sue! You’re going to make a beautiful bride.

let’s go red

1 Sep

Today kicks off the beginning of the 2012 college football season – which means the Badgers are back in business! Hoping for a successful run for the Rose Bowl, despite all of the changes in staff – particularly on the offensive side – and players. Danny O’Brien has quite the shoes to fill.

First 2012 Badger game

We have our Badger day game faces on.

I’ve also decided to become a Seahawks fan for the upcoming NFL season – mostly in part because they named my (not so secret) crush, Russell Wilson, as the starting quarterback. Go Seachickens!

winning big

16 Aug
Have you ever noticed and wondered why the majority of huge lottery jackpot winners are older? Rarely do you see someone my age win a $300+ million jackpot. Now, I am by no means an avid lottery ticket purchaser, nor am I any good at gambling (hello slot machines!) – but whenever I see the lottery ticket jackpot inching closer to record breaking amounts in the triple number plus six-zero digits, I’ll take a shot by randomly purchasing a ticket and hoping for the best. The most I’ve ever won is $7, which I immediately turned around to purchase some celebratory Starburst from the fine lineup of candy at the gas station. A girl can dream, right?
But that’s what I usually do when I spring for a lottery ticket – I start dreaming about what I would do with such an unfathomable amount of money. I immediately think “beach” and start searching for dream vacations (which, by the way, a first vacation would be to a beautiful hut over crystal clear waters in Bora Bora).
I also dream of the perfect house we’d build, complete with a massive gourmet kitchen, beautifully huge master suite with ensuite bathroom, a movie theater and, of course, a man cave for Pat – and preferably built on a lake where we can go boating! In addition, I dream about a vacation house somewhere tropical that we’d spend our winters – or at least, I would, while Pat is playing with the hockey boys at the Xcel Energy Center.
And I would love to donate a huge chunk of change to some of my favorite charities like the Humane Society, the Make-A-Wish Foundation, and St. Jude.
What would you buy? You can’t tell me you don’t dream about it sometime.
For now though, that is how it will all remain: a dream. Someday randomly buying tickets will pay off. Someday.

Edelweiss

20 Jul

I had the pleasure of knowing my grandpa – Richard “Dick” Reif – for 27+ wonderful years.

On Friday, June 29, he peacefully passed away at the home he and my grandma have lived in for over 40 years. We had a beautiful service two days before his 89th birthday. This song was beautifully incorporated into his memorial service and is in memory of him. Rest in peace, Grandpa.