Shelving & Shoes & Signs, oh my!

Day 2

[click here to see Day 1]

Saturday, I introduced Noelle to the shoe Heaven that is Nordstrom Rack. (It only took us 3 doors and 2 stairwells to find our way out of the parking garage…) Nordstrom Rack was having their one day only Large Size Shoe Event which I typically have great luck at, but, sadly, the selection for my size was a bit meager in Dallas. Noelle, on the other hand, had great luck finding gorgeous shoes – most of which were black sandals. 🙂

After browsing through some other shops, we headed off to meet Adam and his brother at IKEA so Noelle could buy some shelving units. Miraculously, we were in and out of IKEA in under an hour and a half! We’re so efficient. We Adam and his brother loaded the shelves into our car and off we headed to an uneventful lunch at Corner Bakery.

Adam channeled his inner Devo in IKEA

After lunch, we said our goodbyes and Noelle and I headed to NorthPark. Essentially, Mecca for shopaholics. We waltzed in and out of stores, fondled handbags we couldn’t afford – Balenciaga for me, Cole Haan for Noelle, swooned over the works of art in Carolina Herrera – and the Argentinean salesman, and obsessed over everything in Kate Spade. Life was grand.

MY Balenciaga Seashore Damier Tote

That evening, we decided to take a walking photography tour of downtown Dallas. May I just say that I fell in LOVE with the downtown? It’s so retro, yet modern and I just ate it up!

After a few blocks, we encountered the getaway of a newlywed couple outside of a hotel. We stopped to watch as the sweet couple were escorted out of the hotel by a trumpet and saxophone playing “When the Saints Go Marching In”. We watched as they said their goodbyes and hugged their families and I teared up a bit knowing that in just a few months that will be me. It was so sweet and so happy.

As we continued to meander through downtown, we came across lots of awesome vintage neon signs and learned that we have a mutual appreciation for them.

There was also an incident with a security guard in a bank building, because Noelle wanted a picture of the lobby chandelier. He left his desk in the lobby to come outside and tell us that because we were on the same side of the street as the building we couldn’t take straight up pictures of buildings.

His reasoning? Heightened security after 9/11.

My response to his reasoning? Yeah, we look like the typical terrorists.

Day 3 to come…

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I MET JEN LANCASTER!!!!

This weekend, I went to Dallas with someone I met on the Internet. Twitter to be specific. I came back alive.

Let’s start at the very beginning – a very good place to start…

Noelle and I met on Twitter. I thought the tweet that sparked this friendship referenced my father’s grocery store and how I always choose self-checkout in stores for the nostalgia, but I’d be lying. In fact, the first tweet conversation I could find was about a kid who loves bacon. Which would prove prophetic for this trip…

Several months ago, when our favorite author, Jen Lancaster, posted the book tour for her newest book, “If You Were Here”, and I saw that she was going to come to Dallas, I innocently recommended that we road trip it for the weekend. I never thought it would actually happen, but it did and I’m ecstatic! We decided to make it a long weekend full of shopping and eating with no regard to calories.

Day 1

We found an awesome boutique hotel called Hotel Indigo, that was pretty much a beach cottage in the heart of downtown Dallas. Upon arrival, and after a brief stint wherein Noelle drove on the shoulder of the interstate, the bellman asked if he could help us with our luggage. “Yes,” we replied. Quickly followed by Noelle saying, “Don’t forget the tripod!” Because who DOESN’T need a tripod when staying in a hotel room with someone you met on Twitter? [She actually wanted a good night shot of our room’s view]

We loved our blueberry room with pineapple bedding and polka dot couch and didn’t even mind the lack of hot water early Saturday morning. Wait, I should rephrase that…Noelle didn’t mind the lack of hot water Saturday morning. I had hot water, as it came back on right after she finished getting ready.

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Cutest. Hotel. Ever!

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Friday night, after we had checked into the hotel, we headed to…

Meet.Jen.Lancaster!!!

Noelle had called earlier in the week to reserve books and signing tickets for us. Group “A” tickets! Let me just say, the Lincoln Park Barnes & Noble rocked! They were very accommodating to us since we drove from out-of-state for the signing.

We arrived at the signing about 45 minutes before it was scheduled to begin and people-watched/eavesdropped on the conversations around us. An employee came around to get personalization information for the signing, the majority of folks, including us, just wanted their name.

Everyone except the woman two seats down from us. She had approximately four tattoos about Jesus and religion on her arms and one on her calf. When the employee asked her how she wanted Jen to personalize her book she responded, “Promise we’ll best friends for infinity and beyond.”

Then there were the stalker/brown-nosers of the group who brought Jen plaid gift-wrapped boxes and luxury lotions. Yeah, you guys suck, even if you were carrying a gorgeous Michael Kors handbag and wore a fantabulous green and turquoise dress.

Unfortunately, we couldn’t convince [incredibly gorgeous, super-sweet, and hilarious] Jen to grab dinner and drinks with us that night [had she obliged, I’m certain WE would have become her best friends for infinity and beyond], but we still enjoyed a great meal at Maggiano’s Little Italy in NorthPark – where we were seated in a cozy and slightly romantic semi-circular booth.

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Martini nightcap…

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Days 2 and 3 to come…

A Like Totally Awesome Surprise!

I love parties and I love the 80s.

So it should come as no shock that I loved helping my co-workers put together a huge surprise bash to celebrate another co-worker’s 30-year service anniversary with an 80s themed prom (She started working for my company in 1981). For several months we held secret meetings, schemed behind her back, tossed around ideas, put together a guest list, designed the invites and divided and conquered. Every sneaky step of the way I smiled. It’s such a good feeling knowing that I’m doing something nice for someone else; something that, hopefully, made her day and showed just how much we appreciate her and enjoy working with her!!

Let’s get into the details of this shindig, shall we? First up, the invites – designed by yours truly:

Then came other graphic posters put up around the room to set the tone – also designed by yours truly:

I couldnt resist a good "9 to 5" reference 🙂

Lucky for us, our co-worker was on vacation for the 2 weeks leading up to the party. This allowed 2 of us to rummage through her unlocked desk drawers -she’ll never trust us again – and find pictures over her 30 years of service. We then took the pictures and cut basic geometric shapes out of fluorescent poster board to act as mats and placed them on tables around the room.

Every party needs a guest book, so here’s what we came up with for ours:

Oh yes, thats Rick Springfield

4 of us also took a trip to the local Salvation Army in hopes of finding a prom dress fit for a queen – and did we ever! Here’s the honored guest in her gown and sash.

And here’s a close-up of the sash, because nothing says “the 80s” like polka dots!

Here’s a shot of the dance floor decor, in all it’s 80s glory. Heck yes we boogied down to classic 80s “Pop Musik”!

I loved the metallic accents - they just screamed tacky 80s Prom!

What’s a party without cake? The co-worker in charge of getting the cake did a phenomenal job! [from Patticakes]

Yummy!!!

Finally, I’ll leave you with a few pictures of the 80s fashion that appeared.

I just love a good power suit, with shoulder pads. But I skipped the nude hose :).

Engagement Pictures

It’s been just over a week since Adam and I met with the fabulous Karen Segrave McCall, owner of KES Weddings, to shoot our engagement pictures. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little nervous about how the shoot would go down, because I really wanted the pictures to reflect our personalities without looking posed or fake.

Can I just tell you how lucky we got? Not only was Karen able to capture our personalities flawlessly in the pictures, but she also made sure that we had input on shots every step of the way! It was such fun traipsing about Little Rock with her for two and a half hours to find settings that “fit” with us.

The biggest surprise came to us Sunday morning, less than 24 hours later, when I checked my email and saw that she had already made our proofs available to look through. I immediately opened them up and started swooning. They were full of emotion, laughter, love and joy and we couldn’t be happier!

Karen has been so sweet to allow me to share some of my favorites with you. So, without further ado, I present our engagement pictures.

I can’t recommend Karen highly enough if you are in the market for a wedding photographer. I’m so excited to see what she captures for my bridal portraits and at our wedding!

all images via Karen Segrave McCall|KES Weddings

Shake, Rattle, and Roll

Earthquakes have been kind of the “thing” to talk about around these here parts, because over the past week Arkansas has experienced 54 of them. People have clogged up my Twitter and Facebook feeds with statuses asking who else felt the most recent one, how big the last one was, and if anyone knew the cause of the sudden surge we’ve experienced. I’ve yet to get worked up about the quakes since I haven’t felt one, but that all changed last night…

After spending all afternoon watching the Oscars, I got ready for bed as I normally do – washed my face, brushed my teeth, put on my PJs and turned on my newly installed bedroom ceiling fan – thank you apartment upgrades! Then I went to weigh myself, because I had forgotten to do so earlier in the day [I knew I’d be setting myself up for disappointment weighing at night, but I did it anyway].

And that’s when the earth shook.

Let me tell you, there is NOTHING more disconcerting than stepping on a scale at the exact same moment you are experiencing your first earthquake.

Someone has a cruel sense of humor.

**********

There are reports that we will continue to feel aftershocks over the next week, which got me to thinking…

Who’s to say Arkansas doesn’t have this to look forward to over the next few weeks?

Why I want to move…

[See also: Why I despise my downstairs frat boy neighbors]

11:40: Just got off the phone with Adam and am walking back to my bedroom.

11:41: Changed into my PJs, ready to read Jen Lancaster and fall into a sweet sweet slumber

11:42:30: Is that ABBA?

11:42:35: It IS ABBA, but what song?

11:42:45: OMG the frat boys are blaring “Dancing Queen”

11:42:47: I hit the floor, ear to carpet, listening and giggling at this picture I’ve drawn in my head of frat boys dancing around their apartment and singing “Dancing Queen”

11:43:15: Man, I’m tired. I need to sleep. [Gets up off floor]

11:43:18: But what if the next song is equally entertaining? [Walks and stands in the corner to listen to more music]

11:43:20: What’s this?

11:43:32: It’s The Eagles…

11:43:34: It’s Hotel California

11:44:25: I call Adam.

11:44:27: Adam’s working, and says, “That’s umm interesting” as a I regale him with the scenarios that are popping into my head at this very moment about the neighbors’ playlist.

11:50: Adam tells me he needs to get back to work so he can finish laundry and pack to visit me on Thursday.

11:50:10: “Don’t go!” I shout, not wanting to miss the opportunity to share the next song choice with him.

11:50:30: Distract Adam with my sleepy ramblings while I try to figure out the next song…

11:50:35: It’s the Bee Gees, not nearly as random, we say our goodbyes.

11:51:35: We are done saying our goodbyes.

11:53: Oooh! Foreigner, “Feels Like the First Time”

11:54: Seriously, WHAT are THEY doing down there…

11:54:45: Ok, the charm of this is starting to wear off. Maybe it’s something to do with the fact that it’s almost midnight on a school night.

11:54:46: Did I just say school night?

11:54:50: Head to bathroom to wash face, brush teeth, etc. etc.

11:58: Get into bed with Jen’s new book.

11:58:09: New Song!!

11:58:10: No. Freaking. Way.

11:58:11: Jump out of bed and begin to dance.

11:58:30: Grab hairbrush and lip-synch to Manfred Mann “Blinded by the Light”

12:04: Ok, seriously, Megan. Get in bed and stay there, you have to be at work in 8 hours.

12:04:30: Fleetwood Mac begins.

12:04:45: It’s “Dreams”. Fitting since it’s way past my bedtime.

12:04:50: Continue reading Jen.

12:06: Oh no they didn’t. I KNOW they didn’t just skip “Dreams”.

12:06:10: I’m pissed and I’m tired.

12:07: An unidentifiable song begins blaring.

12:07:30: I text Adam saying I’m about to go postal.

12:08: No response.

12:09: Continue reading.

12:10: This music is getting louder (and not any better).

12:14: I call the courtesy officer pager.

12:14:30: Courtesy officer calls me right as the music is shut off.

12:14:32: Of Course.

12:14:40: Apologize for bothering her, tell her I can’t hear their music anymore, and not to worry about it.

12:14:45: She tells me not to hesitate calling her back if the music comes back to an unacceptable level.

12:15: Remember nothing after this point.

7:10: I wake up with “Blinded by the Light” stuck in my head.

image via MAZZALIARMADI.IT on Flickr
Baked Lemon Pasta

Perfect Spring Pasta

Baked Lemon PastaNothing says spring like a pollen covered car. It’s the sign that spring has sprung, that new life is blossoming, and that light, yet flavorful meals are a comforting dinner. My new standby pasta dish? Thanks to Pioneer Woman? Fits the bill perfectly. I mean, seriously, what says spring like lemon? And when you combine that with a bit of garlic and toss with some pasta? It’s not going to disappoint.

You see, one of my favorite movies is Julie & Julia. At the beginning of the movie, Julie arrives home from a stressful day at work and begins whipping up a Chocolate Cream Pie. She says:

“You know what I love about cooking? I love that after a day when nothing is sure, you can come home and absolutely know that if you add egg yolks to chocolate and sugar and milk it will get thick. It’s such a comfort.”

Well, this dish serves as that comfort for me. Only my day wasn’t stressful and my ingredients are sour cream, lemon, garlic, and butter. Nevertheless, after you’ve whipped it together once it’s practically mindless to whip up again. And mindless recipes that always come out right? Never hurt anyone.

Baked Lemon Pasta
adapted from The Pioneer Woman

Ingredients

  • half pound Thin Spaghetti
  • 2 Tablespoons Salted Butter
  • 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
  • 1 cloves Garlic, Minced
  • 1 whole Lemon, Juiced And Zested
  • 1 cup Light Sour Cream
  • Kosher Salt to taste
  • Grated Parmesan Cheese
  • Chopped Flat-leaf Parsley

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cook spaghetti until al dente.
  2. In a skillet, melt butter with olive oil over LOW HEAT. When butter is melted, add minced garlic. Turn off heat. Squeeze lemon juice into the pan.
  3. Add sour cream and stir mixture together. Add lemon zest and salt. Taste, then add more salt if necessary.
  4. Combine mixture with drained spaghetti. Transfer spaghetti to an oven safe dish.
  5. Bake, covered with foil, for 15 minutes.
  6. Remove foil and bake for an additional 7 to 10 minutes. (Don’t bake too long or the pasta will dry out.)
  7. Squeeze a little more lemon juice over the top after you remove it from the oven.
  8. Top with Parmesan cheese and chopped parsley. Enjoy!

Servings: 3