Sunday, October 21, 2012

pretty much the perfect weekend.

After the non-stop fun in New Orleans and then jumping right back into a week of work, I was more than ready for some quality down-time with the hubs this weekend.  And I'll be honest... it was pretty perfect.

Friday included Chick-fil-a, asparagus, and smoothies, not to mention the newest episodes of the Office, Parks and Rec, and 30 Rock, a good book (Insurgent, because yes, I do highly enjoy young adult literature), and an early bed time.

Saturday started off slow- sleeping in, going for a run, prayer time with Cori, and more reading.  But then we decided to take advantage of Tampa's streetcar, which was celebrating its 10 year anniversary with free streetcar rides.  We spent the afternoon/early evening riding the streetcar, walking by the bay, and eating dinner at a cute little restaurant called the Fly- which had some AMAZING shrimp and grits.

streetcar = love.  also, we met some new orleanians who were in town for the game!

streetcar celebration special = buy one get one free ice cream at coldstone! YUM!


I love living by the water!

We ended our Saturday night with a couple episodes of Friday Night Lights.  Perfect!  

Sunday morning started normally- we got up and went to church.  Buuuuuut we left a little early so we could go to the SAINTS GAME!  My sweet, sweet husband bought us tickets so we could watch the Saints play the Bucs and the Raymond James Stadium in Tampa.  He also brilliantly decided we should avoid the costs and craziness of the parking lot, so we parked our cars in a nearby parking lot and rode our bikes to the stadium.  I'm honestly not sure what my frugal hubby was more excited about- the game, or our free front-row parking!

The game was AWESOME!  It was a little crazy in the 4th quarter and it took my heart beat a while to beat at a normal pace, but we WON and it was so wonderful.  I will say, it was weird to be at a Saints game with so many people cheering against the Saints- not to mention a little confusing for me, since with things like penalties I tend to just cheer when other people cheer since I don't completely understand- but it was SO fun.  The Raymond James Stadium is beautiful- Cori especially loved it- but we will definitely be sporting some sunburn this week.  I miss the air-conditioned Superdome!

Who Dat fans!

What's that?  Up by 7 at half-time?  Don't mind if we do!



Oh yeah... one advantage to cheering for the visiting team?  As we were walking back to our bikes, we noticed a crowd of people standing by the buses the Saints had arrived in.  We waited for about 45 minutes and our patience was rewarded because LOOK WHO WE SAW!

Yep!  That's my boy, Drew!

He signed our cup!  I'm just a little excited here...

Ahhhhhh it was just all so wonderful!  And of course, I had to cap off the day with a picture of our black and gold sporting kitten...


As always, the weekend went by way to fast, but I've got to say... it was pretty terrific. :)

Saturday, October 20, 2012

home sweet nola.

Last week, I went home.  

'Home' is a confusing word for me to use, because it could mean any number of cities and states- Tampa, FL; Richmond, VA; or New Orleans, LA.  And while all 3 are definite homes for me, this time, I mean New Orleans.  And the thing is, it will always be home to me.  I will always feel a familiar sense of belonging when I see the New Orleans skyline, I will always crave Snoballs when it's hot outside, I will always cheer on the Saints, and I will always love the precious city I spent five years living in.

But I digress.  One of my best friends in the world, Kim, got married last Saturday, so I took off two days of work and flew to NOLA on Wednesday night.  It was so precious to be there a few days early; because of the distance, I missed out on so many of the little parts of Kim's engagement and wedding planning, so it was such a joy to do random, insignificant things like go with her and her parents to drop off welcome bags for the out of town guests or help put together the bags of cookies they gave as favors.

We got manicures, ate poboys with her and Matt's arriving family, went to a food truck festival, and spent time at the Willow house.  Oh the Willow House... I lived there with Kim for three years before getting married, and having time with her and my precious former roommates, Amy (who got married after living there one year with us), and Laura (who moved in after Amy moved out), and of course, Katie (who was never actually my roommate but I've known forever and moved into my room when I moved), was just wonderful.  

I also managed to squeeze in time with two other precious New Orleans friends- a walk with my friend Shannon and her son Noah, brunch (and a ride to the airport to pick up Cori!) with my friend and favorite former co-worker, Sara.  I just love those friends!

Friday night we went to the rehearsal and rehearsal dinner.  This is the only picture of me from that night, and shocker, I'm hanging out with a small child... also known as Ava, Kim's ridiculously adorable niece and flower girl.

I'm pretty sure she's giving me advice on something really serious.

After a sweet rehearsal and delicious dinner, we headed to the Columns to meet up with more friends.  The Columns is this beautiful, historic building and one of the classiest places to get a drink in New Orleans.  We actually returned there on Saturday morning for Kim's bridal brunch...

All the Willow House Girls! Laura, Amy, Kim, Katie, Me
The rest of the day was spent doing a little shopping and then getting ready for that night's festivities.  Kim and Matt got married at the beautiful Opera Guild.  Again, sadly, I have very few pictures, but hopefully I can post a few once Kim's photographer posts them.

me, Tori, Lindsay

As the wedding party was made up only of family members, Kim sweetly asked me to pass out programs, and let me say- this was pretty much the perfect job to give the girl who's moved away and hasn't seen anyone in a while because I got to be the first one to see some of my favorite friends.  After a high-pitched greeting and huge hug, my friend Arthur commented that I was a great greeter... but don't worry Kim, I was civilized with your family. ;)

After a wonderful ceremony, we enjoyed a fabulous reception, full of yummy food and dancing.  Lots of dancing!  And I have to share this... Kim and Matt invited Red, the 83 year old neighbor who lives across the street from the Willow House.  Red has been the kindest, sweetest neighbor... he always sits on his front porch and I think has adopted himself as the unofficial grandpa of all the Willow House girls.  At the reception, he told Cori to sit next to him and instructed him to take care of me.  He was just too precious for words and I'm pretty sure that this wedding was one of the highlights of his year.  Love it.

Katie and Red

Sunday morning, Cori and I went to Redeemer Presbyterian Church and then out to lunch with some of our favorite friends- Katie, Laura, Corey, Carl, and the Kostrzewa clan- Melanie, Ken, Avery (2 years old) and Eliza (4 months old).  I'm pretty much in love with these friends AND I'm just a little obsessed with Babylon, the restaurant where we ate.  I'm telling you, few things make me happier than a chicken schwarma with home-baked bread from Babylon.  Yum!

We spent some quality time with the Kostrzewas and other friends from my relief team- Danielle, her hubby Andrew, and Adelle.  And of course, we took a little walk so we could get a snack...


It was a non-stop trip, and I was exhausted this week... but it was worth every bit.  New Orleans... I will never get over you.  I just won't. :)

Speaking of which- we're going to the Saint's game tomorrow!  They play the Buccaneers here in Tampa, so we're donning our black and gold and cheering on our boys.  Who Dat!