Monday, April 14, 2014

a (much-needed) date

So another reason for my lack of posting of late has been due to the complete and utter time-suck that is studying for the CFA Level II.  For those of you unfamiliar with this beast of an exam, it is absolute misery.  With a pass rate that hovers around 30% (!!) and with experts warning that any less than 300 hours of studying and you might as well not bother, it pretty much ruins your life for 3-5 months.  

Weekends of late (with the exception of a fun bachelorette weekend off!) have been mainly studying, an occasional walk, and simple, less-than-10-minutes-to-prepare meals at home.

This past Saturday night, however, Stefan decided to pull me out of my CFA hole for a date night out for the first time in what seemed like ages.  He made 9pm reservations at a new spot we have been meaning to try and I even got dressed up for the occasion (also a rarity these days).  

I ended up ditching the shoes (SF just wasn't made for heels), but the dress stayed on: it's one of my absolute favorites.  I've had it for ages and you've probably seen it around these parts many times before:

with the same necklace to boot!

I'd say I'm looking decently pregnant (no?), but interestingly, not a single American has dared make a comment to me.  It's only the foreigners that will jump in with a "when are you due?", "boy or girl?", or sometimes just a blatant: "are you pregnant?".  Our Vietnamese waitress at dinner was all about the questions and even brought us extra bread for baby.  I was pleased.  


Tuesday, April 8, 2014

apples and a ring

In other super exciting news, my little sister is engaged!   

For most of you, this is old, old news.  (I really have dropped the blogging ball these past few months...)  But regardless, I thought it worthwhile to share their adorable engagement story, told from the source herself: Miss. Soon-to-be-Bride!

Starting about a year ago, Al and I instituted date nights where we would plan surprise dates for each other just for fun. It was, and has been, a super fun tradition, but I did need to institute some rules after it became apparent that Al thought all dates should be BBQ-themed.  While this girl loves BBQ, she also loves wearing white (not ideal attire for this BBQ eater) and varied cuisine once in a while. 

Anyway, a few weeks before THE day, Al mentioned that he was going to plan a day date on 9/21. I thought it was a great idea and didn't think much more of it. After some seemingly false alarms where I thought there may be proposals in sight (i.e., a surprise vacation to St. Lucia), I have opted not to read into his sneaky/crafty date ideas.

So I woke up on Saturday and got ready as I would for any other date. Once I was ready, instead of being told what we were doing, I was handed an envelope with directions for pit stop 1: Starbucks. Smart, Al - don't take this girl anywhere without her AM coffee!

Post-Starbucks, I received envelope #2 that mentioned driving North for some fun fall festivities. I figured maybe a beer garden or hike? But instead we drove and arrived at a gorgeous apple orchard in upstate New York. Now that I am a teacher, apples were only fitting. ;)

We spent some time meandering the farm, trying different types of apples before Al asked if I wanted to walk over to a secluded bunch of Macintosh. Still, I was thinking Al just wanted to take a walk - not totally out of the ordinary for this athletic, energy-crazed man. 

As we walked over, however, he handed me my next envelope. I opened it and was immediately in a wonderful state of awe: it said how he wanted to spend the rest of his life with me. He got down on one knee, popped the question, I said yes, and he put the ring on my finger. It was super surreal in the most exciting way.

Though alcohol was not allowed on the orchard, Al snuck in some celebratory spirits and we toasted our engagement. I then received another envelope which lead us to an adorable brunch spot in Pawling, New York where the excitement really began to settle in. Over Champagne and frittata, we celebrated the special day.

Then, once in the car, I received yet another envelope - what a planner! It informed me we were headed to a beautiful colonial house that overlooked a secluded lake in New Milford. We walked the hills of the cute neighborhood, called family, cooked dinner, and had a low-key, romantic evening.

To continue the celebration the next day, Al had made reservations at a gorgeous golf club and we played a round of golf in the beautiful fall weather before heading to a sports bar to eat lunch and watch the Pats - who won in our honor of course! 
(Or so I tell myself.)

And that is the story. It was perfect for me and for us. So excited to share it with you!

Congrats Gretters!  We're so excited to celebrate with you on gorgeous Gasparilla Island!!


Thursday, April 3, 2014

red and white

Many have told me that their favorite posts here tend not to be those about the happy days, but rather the ones about the ridiculous missteps or silly-stupid moments that are inevitably a part of everyday life (at least for this gal).  Case in point.  

Luckily for you, I have lots of those, so I figured I'd try to incorporate them whenever possible for your reading (laughing) pleasure.  

One such incident occurred just this past weekend whilst I was in Florida for my dear friend Charlotte's bachelorette.  As already told, I arrived in early Friday AM and spent the day pool-side with Char and her sisters.  It was decently overcast with a touch of sun here and there but I opted to do 55 on my face, chest and arms and 30 on everything else.

The 30 happened to be a spray, which I quickly spritzed on my belly and legs, in an effort to get back to catching up with the bride-to-be.


That night, however, it quickly became apparent that my spray job had been perfunctory.  

I had a nice red-and-white pattern cloaking my entire lower half.

While normally I would be beyond thrilled at the prospect of a beach photo shoot (I LOVE playing supermodel) which was our scheduled Saturday afternoon activity, the thought of documenting my sunscreen faux pas and exposing my tender Northern skin to any more rays seemed unbearable.  What was a girl to do?  

Luckily, the bride lent me one of her beautiful beach cover-ups that allowed me to hide all traces of the incident while still allowing some sun on my upper half.  

No one was the wiser.
Except you. :)


Tuesday, April 1, 2014


This past weekend I headed to sunny Florida to celebrate the last nights of maidenhood for my dearest friend Charlotte.  As far as bachelorette parties go, this one was a total slam dunk: just the right mix of activity and relaxation with enough bachelorette-y type festivities to check all the boxes.

Wanting to take full advantage of my trip down there, I took a red-eye Thursday arriving in Friday AM in time for brunch with Charlotte, her sisters, and her mom.  The afternoon was spent doing some ample sunning at the pool before the rest of the girls arrived that evening for a casual BBQ.  

The next morning (in true Charlotte fashion), we headed to a high-intensity work-out class decked out in matching neon t-shirts (compliments of Char's youngest sis and co-maid-of-honor).

The class involved lots of cycling... well as copious exercises that have left me walking gingerly even 3 days later.

the bride showing off her crazy strength with some weights

After that, we headed back to the house for a decadent brunch of eggs, toast, fruit and yogurt.

again - right up this healthy, wholesome bride's alley!

The groom's sister - who is also getting married this year and lives in LA - couldn't make it to the festivities, so she opted to surprise the bride with an extra special afternoon activity: a beach photo shoot for her and all her friends.

en route to the beach with all of our "props" - compliments of the groom's sister

More (professional) pictures to come!

That evening, it was time for more traditional bachelorette activities: 

a lingerie shower
(details concealed!)

Cocktails with Penis Pretzels 
(homemade by the Mother of the Bride!)

We then rented a stretch limo and headed out for an evening on the town.

Bride with her two sisters / co-maids-of-honor

The next morning people were up early for runs and walks before a relaxing yoga class and then brunch at the club.

en route to brunch!

All in all, a fabulous weekend!  Congrats Charlotte!


Thursday, March 27, 2014

florida bound!

It's been busy week around these parts trying to wrap up for a VERY special weekend away.  Tonight, I'm off to Florida for the bachelorette party of my very best friend: Miss. Charlotte VanWagenen.  

She's marrying this sweet gentleman this June and I could NOT be more excited to celebrate with her!

Normally I'm a pack-several-days-in-advance type of girl, but this week I ended up waiting until the last minute (now!) to toss my stuff together.  Luckily, warm weather and sunshine doesn't call for much:

Shades and a fresh pedicure*, 
heels, purse and jewels for a night out on the town,
and work-out gear for some serious exercise 
(because this bride is ripped!) 

*By fresh, I mean one month in which is one and the same for this gal.

I've also mastered the ideal red-eye attire to make going from airport to sleeping-on-the-plane to airport to enjoying your day as comfortable and effortless as possible:

Jeans and a black stretchy shirt 
is perfection even with a bump!

That's 22 weeks with a cantaloupe-sized baby.  


Tuesday, March 18, 2014

it's a....

Stefan and I knew from the get-go we wanted to find out what we were having.  We're planners at heart and it seemed odd to have the option to know, but choose not to simply for the element of surprise.  (Although I do admit it would serve as good incentive for the final push.)

Strategically, I scheduled our 16-week/4-month ultrasound on my birthday.  We both knew it was a tad bit early to find out the gender (they usually tell you at 20 weeks) but there was a shot and we figured we'd take it.  

Rather than find out during the appointment, we planned to ask our technician to write it down on a sheet of paper and seal it up for us to open later.  We'd then go out for my birthday dinner that night (at a fabulously romantic French spot we both adore) and give the sheet to the waiter.  For dessert, we'd order two decadent dishes: one for him to bring if the paper read "girl", and one if it read "boy".

As we walked into our appointment, we shared our plan with the technician.  As we began the scan, I watched the screen with razor hawk eyes.  I, of course, wanted to be surprised, buuuuut I also wanted to see if I could figure it out myself.

About 5 minutes in - after sizing our growing baby's head and counting its toes and going (from my understanding) nowhere near its lady or gentleman parts - we reminded her: 
"And if you could take a look at the gender, that would be great too!"
"Oh, I know already know."
"Like totally sure know?"

We left the appointment mind-boggled.  We had our eyes glued to the screen and hadn't had the slightest inkling of what our little one was - how could she possibly know?  The hour and half before our reservation seemed like an eternity.  We occupied ourselves by debating names, but the conversation ultimately unraveled into whether we thought it was a boy or a girl.  Not exactly a way to speedily pass the time.  

When we finally made it to dinner, we plowed through our first and second courses and onto dessert in no time.  We told our choices to the waiter and waited what seemed like ages until he brought it out.

He strategically covered it with a champagne bucket to further build anticipation.  All restaurant eyes were on us.  I could barely breath I was so excited.

He ceremoniously lifted the bucket to reveal...

I was so overwhelmed by the whole situation that I completely forgot what a chocolate torte was for - was it a boy or a girl?

Thankfully Stefan had kept his wits about him and delivered the news:

We are over the moon excited and cannot wait to meet our little lady.


Wednesday, March 12, 2014

I'm back...

...with a bump!

Stefan and I could NOT be more excited, but it still hasn't totally hit me that there is a little human growing inside my stomach.  Mind-boggling!!  We are soaking up every minute.

I actually never intended to stop blogging altogether, but it turns out nausea + working full time + moving (yes! more details to come...) + never-ending tiredness is not a recipe for copious amounts of free time to blog.  I hope to be back on an every-so-often basis to keep you updated on our happenings and what's up with my growing belly.