Party Like It’s Your Birthday

So this year was my 31st birthday. Gah I’m old!

old

This year we decided to rent a cabin in the poconos. Jill’s birthday is the day after ours so we all celebrated together!

Birthday

As an old lady now, it’s nice to just hang out with my friends. We had a good time.

Birthday

Where the house was there was a lake nearby. In the summer you could go there, but we wanted to see what it looked like in the winter.

Frozen Lake

I was surprised that it was frozen over. I mean it was cold, but not SUPER cold.

Frozen Lake

I braved the shores first. Once I realized it was REALLY frozen, I went further out.

Frozen Lake

Yay to still being adventurous at 31!

Disney Birthday Invitation

So this past weekend I could not be here for my friend Erin’s 30th surprise birthday party. I mean I was in Disney, but I was sad I missed it.

I DID get to make the fun Disney invitations though.

Disney Birthday Invitation

They wanted it to show a bunch of Disney characters, but be kind of story book looking. This was the final product. I used all the characters I know Erin loves. I mean there are way more, but these are the top few.

I have a few other freelance projects I just finished which I am excited to show you soon. Since they are surprises I can’t until after, but they are great!

Here Comes the Sun

I am not sure how, but I got a lot accomplished this weekend!

On Friday after work I went with my mom and sister furniture shopping. As I have mentioned I am trying to spend as little as possible on this move. Luckily I have an awesome family!

Cheryl and my mom said they would pay for my couch which was the one big item I needed that I couldn’t figure out how I was going to afford. We went to Bob’s and wound up getting the same couch we have at home. It’s a chaise couch that pulls out into a bed. It will be where Cheryl sleeps when she comes to visit! I also got a coffee table for $50. It was originally $200 so I thought it was a good price.

On Saturday I went to crossfit in the morning. I am really bummed I won’t be able to go to crossfit anymore. I hope I can find one as great as Crossfit Nutley in PA.

After Cheryl and I went into NYC to Brooklyn Brewery to celebrate Ray’s birthday.

Ray Birthday

Cheryl and I drove (everyone else took the train) because we couldn’t stay all day.

Brooklyn Brewery is fun. Make sure to get there early to get a table!

We left around 3pm and got home around 4pm. Then we went to Target. I got a lot of stuff I needed and even found my name on a Coke!

Diet Coke Jessica

After Target we went to Marshalls and TJ Maxx to see if I could find the stuff I just bought, but for cheaper. This saving money thing is a lot of work! I did get a few things and returned the Target stuff since it was a lot more expensive.

Sunday the forecast was for rain, but around 9am the sun came out! Cheryl and I decided to go to Home Depot to get stuff for some projects.

Projects

We got plywood for the floor in out attic (a different section) and it just barely fit in the car. It was a tight squeeze!

After I worked on a bunch of furniture projects. We have so much furniture at home I decided to give some stuff a facelift and use it in my new apartment.

Projects Complete

So glad we got everything done before it started to rain!

For dinner we decided to finally go see Jurassic World at the dine-in theatre. The movie was awesome!

Now this is my last week of work and crunch time. I still have so much packing to do, but I think I am done buying stuff (for now).

Here Comes the Sun!

It is officially May and FINALLY consistently nice out!

On Friday we had a Cinco de Uno lunch with my coworkers. Cinco de Mayo is actually this week, but the restaurants around us get crazy so we decided to go early. The restaurant we went to has AMAZING chips and salsa (free) and I ate a little too much. The fish tacos I had were really good, but I couldn’t finish them. No worries. I will be having more tacos this week!

Friday night Cheryl and I headed down to Philly. Cheryl had to do work when we got down there so instead of taking the (longer) back road route we took the turnpike. All of the construction that has been going on for years was finally cleaned up and it only took us an hour to get there! I have to remember that for the future. Even if the turnpike has tolls it is a better option when we are in a rush.

After we sat in Starbucks for a while so Cheryl could work we got dinner at Blue Duck Sandwich Co. I seriously love that place. We got wings to share and I got a lobster roll. Lots of seafood on Friday!

Food Friday

After dinner we met up with Matt and his friend Joe to see the new Avengers: Age of Ultron movie. It was good, but a little long. I am also pretty bummed that a lot of the characters are leaving :(

Saturday was Matt’s birthday. We went to brunch in the morning and then headed to Neshaminy State Park. It was a gorgeous day out and the riverfront area was really nice.

Neshaminy State Park

We played frisbee and whiffle ball in the park and after headed back to Matt’s for a little to hang out and drink.

I found a dino friend in the kids park on the way back.

Neshaminy State Park

Later we all headed to the Camden Riversharks game. I have never been to Campbell’s Field even though I have been to the Camden waterfront a lot. That is where the Susquehanna Bank Center is where we go to concerts.

The game was a lot of fun. It’s minor league, but they still have pretty good players. There were also fireworks after the game!

Camden Riversharks

After the game we all went to a bar downtown called City Tap House. The bar was nice, but they had a weird band playing.

The whole day was a lot of fun. I was so glad we spent most of the time outside since it was so nice out!

The next day we got brunch at a whiskey bar called Lloyd’s. The food was really good. We sat outside though and I neglected to put sunscreen on. It’s that time of year for sunburns and horrible tan lines!

When Cheryl and I got home we decided we needed to put back up our backyard oasis!

Gazebo

At the end of last year we decided to take the fabric off and leave the frame up. It was fine over the winter. The floor tiles got dirty, but my mom cleaned them up. We also decided to get new outdoor furniture. The poang chairs we used last year were not meant for the outdoors.

Gazebo

Putting the fabric back onto the frame wasn’t too difficult since we labeled everything last year. The furniture was not the easiest to put together. Luckily we had ample amounts of beer!

Gazebo

It took a few hours, but we got everything put together! Now it’s time to enjoy all this nice weather :)

Gazebo

This week is supposed to be in the 70s and 80s. There will be a lot of outdoor running in my future!

Here Comes Peter Cottontail!

Holidays are wonderful and horrible all at the same time. I love spending time with family, but I hate the rushed feeling I have. It’s never relaxing.

This weekend was no different. I had an amazing time, but I am exhausted today.

On Friday my cousin’s from Florida came to visit for my cousin Steve’s 45th birthday. His wife Patty wanted to surprise him with a family party. My entire day off of work on Friday was spent running around getting stuff for the party. Patty had sent a bunch of decorations to my cousin Chrissy’s house. I had to go get food, balloons and other odds and ends. It didn’t help that a lot of other people were also off on Friday so the stores were packed!

We did a casino themed party. They did an awesome job decorating. The balloons were also a hit with the kids. I always forget how loud little kids can be when you get them all together.

Family Party

Steve was really surprised and the party turned out great.

Family Party

There was even a cake fight towards the end of the night! Steve started it…

Family Party

Around 11:30pm I was beat. I was baffled that all the kids were still going strong, but I had to go to bed. It was a great night with my family. I wish all my family lived closer so I could see them more often.

On Saturday, Cheryl and I took our mom shopping. She needed a dress for an upcoming wedding so we went to Lord & Taylor. We helped her get a dress, but then I wanted to go to TJ Maxx so I could actually shop for clothes that were not so expensive! My mom even went out and got a new patio set for the gazebo in the backyard. Once we get the house painted we have to put it back up again.

On Saturday night we headed to the bar in Lyndhurst for night two of Steve’s surprise parties. Saturday night was with his friends. Cheryl and I went and Steve was surprised again! Miller Lite’s were also $4 so a good time was had by all!

Bar Party

Sunday morning I slept until 9:50! That is quite an accomplishment for me since I can never sleep in anymore. Getting home at 2am and drinking heavily probably helped a little.

Cheryl had promised Spenser that she would run a 12 mile training run with him. He is doing a half marathon next weekend. I was going to go, then backed out last minute. I decided instead to break in the new Brooks shoes Cheryl got me from work. 12 miles in new shoes would have been a horrible idea. Instead I did 5.5 around the neighborhood. The shoes felt great and the weather was beautiful!

Running

I love that the trees are getting buds on them!

After my run I helped my mom get ready for Easter dinner. Because our family is so large we usually break off into smaller groups on holidays. For Easter my Aunt Gloria and Uncle Fred came over for dinner and then Danny, Jenn and AJ came over later for dessert. They got us a chocolate bunny and I could not resist!

Easter

I hope everyone had a great weekend (whatever holidays you celebrate). This week is supposed to be very rainy. Bring on the April showers as long as it’s also warm out!

What is your favorite kind of chocolate?

Dirty 30!

Today is my 30th Birthday! It’s weird because birthdays are always just kind of blah, but this year was definitely a fun one.

On Saturday Cheryl and I decided to celebrate our birthday in New York City. We didn’t want to do any “clubs” because I am just not a fan of them or techno music.

We found a cool looking place online called Common Ground. They have board games and my contact said we could do a 3 hour $36 open bar, which in New York is fantastic!

Instead of going somewhere for dinner beforehand we just got sandwiches and pizza and invited people over our house.

30th BirthdayWhen my friend Marissa got there she said she had a surprise…it was an awesome running cake!

30th Birthday

After we ate and pregamed a little we all headed over the the train station. February is such a cold month and I hate the cold, but luckily we didn’t have to wait too long for the train.

30th Birthday

Once we got into New York the plan was to take the A,C,E down to the L and then to the bar. Unfortunately (it was going too well) the L wasn’t running so we had to take cabs and traffic was HORRIBLE so we were late to the bar. I hate being late, but we got there and that is all that mattered.

30th Birthday

I was so excited with how many people came to celebrate with us <3

My friend Billy who I rarely see made an appearance!

30th Birthday

High school reunion!30th Birthday

Cheryl’s kickball/volleyball friends came too!

30th Birthday

The bar was nice. They had a back “party” area with a huge couch that I reserved. We stood most of the night, but it was nice to sit and hang out too.

30th Birthday

I felt so loved and realized just how many great friends Cheryl and I have.

30th Birthday

30th Birthday

30th Birthday

The bar had a jukebox (which was broken) but they were playing an AMAZING playlist. Once some people left and there was more room to move around we even had a dance party.

30th Birthday

30th Birthday

30th Birthday

At 2am I had arranged a shuttle bus to come get us and bring us back to NJ. This way no one had to drive and we didn’t have to worry about train times or cabs home.

The driver got lost at first, but we paid to get us home (not by the hour) so I fell asleep and then we were home!

It was an awesome night with great friends. I am a lucky girl :)

Birthday Wishes

Monday will be my 30th birthday. How crazy is that? I mean I don’t feel 30, but age is just a number right?

Today I am reminiscing birthdays of the past.

Do you remember back when you were younger? Birthdays were such a big deal. Figuring out where to have your party, who to invite, anticipating all the presents you would get….

Now as an adult birthdays are just a way to count the years slowly ticking by. I haven’t really celebrated my birthday too much over the past few years. Maybe out to a bar and for a while Cheryl and I would go away on our birthday.

This year we are celebrating for the first time in a long time. Cheryl and I invited all our friends to come out with us in New York City this weekend. I am keeping my fingers crossed the night goes off without a hitch, but it’s life so who knows. All I know is I am going to make the best of it and try to celebrate having a 3 in front of my age with all my friends.

Birthday Wishes

P.S. I hope there is cake

Instagramming February 2014

I am so glad February is over. Anything that brings me closer to warm weather!

1. February started out with our 29th birthday. We decided to celebrate the day before at Dave and Busters because our actual birthday was Superbowl Sunday. We had a lot of great friends out with us and I even got a Domo with my credits.
2. The Superbowl was in NJ this year, right down the highway from where I live. The asshole Superbowl people totally dissed East Rutherford (where the stadium is) so they held their own giant tailgate. It was a cool idea but so crowded we only stayed for about an hour.
3. We watched the most boring Superbowl I can remember at my friend Stacey’s house. It was kind of sad to see the Bronocs loose SO BADLY but we had a little birthday celebration for Cheryl and I and our friend Jill who has a birthday 2 days after us.
4. Then the never-ending snow began. I worked from home on the days that it snowed because I had to shovel…a lot
5. The Art Dept team hit up the new Shake Shack by work. They had Abita root beer on tap and the burgers were amazing!
6. I worked a wedding and thought it was cute watching the dads take care of the kids while the moms got wasted and danced the night away.
7. Then it snowed again. It got to the point that I didn’t even know where to put the snow!
8. I had a lot of work issues this month stemming from an unnecessary office renovation. It’s still ongoing and more annoying than ever.
9. I got new workout duds from Cheryl to cheer me up and kickstart working out again.
10. We went on an awesome How I Met Your Mother bar crawl in NYC. We all dressed up as different characters from the show. Cheryl was Lily and I was her doppelgänger Stripper Lily. Every bar was a different character. It was an awesome night out that I definitely needed and we even won our costume contest!
11. We finished our crossfit essentials class. We take our first official class tomorrow morning (as long as the snow isn’t crazy)

The biggest highlight of this month though was our spotlight in Self! Cheryl did the Drop 10 diet a few months ago and this month they were finally able to run the little spotlight piece about her and I got to be in the magazine too!

How cool is that!

I am hoping March is a lot less cold and snowy than February was. I also hope this office renovation isn’t a total nightmare. We are off to Cali this coming weekend to visit San Francisco and attend the LA Veronica Mars movie premiere! I cannot wait!!!

As summer draws to a close

This summer was one I will never forget, for various reasons.

May
Summer started out amazing. We did the Broad Street Run in the beginning of May. The run was very packed but it was a gorgeous day out and I did get an awesome time :)

Broad Street Run

 

The following weekend was my cousin Jenn’s Baby Shower. I love planning events like that and I had so much fun making all the Winnie the Pooh themed things. I actually have gotten a lot of freelance jobs because of that blog post.

Winnie the Pooh and Friends Baby Shower

 

Next up was my friends Jill and Kate’s wedding in St. Louis. I had not been back to St. Louis since the first time I went a few years ago. It was an awesome trip full of fun.

St. Louis Adventure

 

Little did I know that after that trip my life would forever change. On May 31st my father passed away from a heart attack. I miss him every single day and I know my life will never be the same. It hasn’t gotten easier but I am learning to live without him being in my life and I think that is the toughest part. Father’s Day was a few weeks later and that was especially tough for us this year. Cheryl and I got a tattoo the day after so that I carry a little piece of him with me everywhere I go.

A Sad Father's Day

 

June
In June I just tried to keep myself busy. We did a lot of cleaning and had to make so many phone calls I lost track. I started going to Bar Method classes for a change of pace, I had some work conferences so I spent time in NYC and our cousin’s graduation party was a nice way to see family at a happier occasion. The end of June thankfully was full of joy. On June 28th we had our company picnic. I can always count on my girls to make me happy and I had a great time. That same day my cousin had her baby, Anthony Joseph! He’s such a cutie :)

July
In July I tried to start getting back to normal. We jumped right and and spent a few days in Philly celebrating July 4th. That was seriously such a great weekend. We went to see Annie with our family. It was a cute show. Then we went to a Phillies game. I love tailgating so that was a good time even though it was brutally hot out. My mom went to an awesome premiere for Top Chef Masters thanks to my sister. I was so glad she was able to get out and have a good time. Then we had a jam packed weekend. First was the Electric Run. We didn’t actually get to do the run because of a lightning storm, but the pre game and start to the race was a good time.

Electric Run

 

The following day I went to my first and only country concert of the summer. Definitely a change of pace since we went to about 6 last year, but if you are going to only go to one concert it should be Zach Brown Band.

Zach Brown Concert

 

The last weekend of July was my all time favorite of the whole summer. My coworker Sara lives on a lake in NJ. We have gone there once before for goldfish races but swore this summer we would go for a lake party and we finally did. Everyone there was so nice and fun. We floated in the lake all day drinking and then kept drinking and boating around all time. It was an amazing time :)

Lake Fun

 

August
August was one big blur of things going on. We went to Seaside with friends. It’s definitely sad to see it so slow and deserted down there. Don’t get me wrong there are people, but definitely not as many as in previous years.

We also made our yearly trip to Wisconsin. The best part is my mom FINALLY came! We started off the trip at State Fair. I mean where else can you get PB&J deep fried on a stick. It is my favorite and it was once again delicious.

They also had some new items. A few years ago it was deep fried beer. Honestly the most disgusting thing I have ever eaten. Imagine a ravioli filled with warm beer that pretty much “pops” when you bite into it. Gross. This year it was beer donuts. They weren’t terrible but they weren’t delicious either. It could be the fact that we waited a day before we ate them.

My mom finally got to try a cream puff as well. They are a staple at the fair and you really haven’t lived until you tried one.

The next day we rented a pontoon boat and went fishing. I love going fishing. It’s relaxing but not at the same time. My uncle is really the only one I know who fishes and he loves it. He even bought a boat! We make sure to go fishing with him every time we visit. We went to green lake again this year. The deepest lake in Wisconsin and with some of the most expensive real estate.

I won the contest for most fish caught. Mind you at one point we were settled over a school of these little fish and every time I dropped my line in I would get one. We threw all of them back though.

My mom caught a few fish as well. She had her own method of getting them onto the boat. Who needs a net right?

Cheryl was not the biggest fan of holding her fish, but she mustered the courage

My uncle caught the biggest fish (even though we told our little cousin Samara it was her) and my aunt decided holding the fish out to the camera would make it look bigger. It worked until it started trying to free itself. Her face is priceless.

I love spending time with family. If I won the lottery I would just travel around spending as much time as possible with all my family. You don’t realize how special life is until you loose someone so close to you.

After fishing we went to our cousins Justin and Tara’s house. We got to see the new little guy Jeriah and had lunch. The following day my cousin Chris came home and we headed up to the Wisconsin Dells to visit my other cousin Sara. Have to see EVERYONE when we are there! We stayed at the Kalahari. It was awesome because they had both and indoor and an outdoor waterpark. The first day we were there it was cloudy and raining so we hung out inside until later on when it got nicer out. Kind of wish we were there for more than a day but these visits are always so short we had to head back.

Before heading back though we got a chance to stop downtown where are the tourist stuff is and convinced my family to take a fun old timey photo!

The following weekend we headed down to Wildwood. Even though it is still in NJ I never consider Wildwood the Jersey shore because it is so much further away and most people that go there are from Philadelphia. We had an awesome weekend with my girls. It was gorgeous the one day so I got to sit and enjoy the beach and relax for a change.

We also decided we wanted to do an old timey photo. We have done them before but this year we wanted to do something funny. We saw kind of like a southern redneck theme and decided that was the one. We didn’t know exactly what we wanted to do but once we hit the dressing room things got out of hand. Soon you were either dressed as a man or pregnant. The end result is the most epic old timey photo ever. The place even posted it to their Facebook page!

 

Our next adventure was the Grand Canyon! I will be making a larger, more detailed post about this later today or tomorrow. It was an awesome and exhausting time and I am so glad I can say that I did it. Not many people can. We hiked down Bright Angel Trail to the Colorado River and slept there overnight. The next day we hiked out using the South Keibab Trail.

 

The next day we headed West and hiked to Havasu Falls. One of the most beautiful things I have ever seen. Ever

Now comes the last week of “official” summer. It was my mom’s 60th birthday! Very bittersweet this year without my dad but we tried to make it a happy day. We got her a massage gift certificate and then took her to the dine-in theatre for dinner and a movie. This time we got the theatre with the reclining seats and it was so fabulous. Service was a little poor but all in all a great night.

This summer really tested me. Not only in a physical way, but a personal one as well. It had it’s extreme ups and downs and because of that I have started to take a serious look at my life and my future.

Hope everyone had an awesome summer and I hope the warm weather sticks around for a few more weeks because I really hate the cold.