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On Sunday, Little S got married (I guess she’s not so little any more!)  Since I was the matron of honor, I gave one of the toasts of the evening.  I really liked it a lot, so I thought I’d share it with you guys as well.

First of all, I would like to say congratulations to the happy couple – Little S and JT.  From the day you met, you could see that you two had something that you can only find in fairy tales.  I am so proud to be here today, taking part in your happiest day.  And I also want to thank you for giving me a moment to share some of your stories with all of your friends, family and loved ones.

On December 25th, 1985, my life drastically changed.  At that moment in time, I was not a happy camper.  It was Christmas Day and I was living an idyllic life with my parents as the only apple in their eye.  Oma and Opa were in town and we had just celebrated Christmas as a family.  As a three-year-old, I didn’t comprehend what it meant when my parents hurriedly grabbed bags and disappeared from the house for hours.  The next day, Dad picked us up to meet the new addition to the family.  I remember it like it was yesterday – here were my proud parents holding their new bundle of joy.  Their eyes and faces were lit up with pure happiness when they introduced me to Little S.  My eyes on the other hand were dull with boredom as I had been waiting for hours for my “special” Christmas present. I looked down at my new sister for a second and turned to them and said, “That’s great. Can we go home now?”  Our first meeting was a little rough, but as the years progressed, I realized that my sister and best friend, Little S, was the best gift I could have ever gotten.

Being Army brats meant that we moved around a lot when we were younger, which I know helped strengthen our sisterly bond, especially when we moved to America from Germany in 1990.  When we were new in town, I always knew that I had a friend by my side.  Even after we finally got settled and started making our own friends, nothing changed between us.  We were still like peanut butter and jelly, our circle of friends blending just like it still does –  sometimes sweet, sometimes a little nutty, but forever stuck together.

As you all know, Little S is not one to sit still.  She always had to be doing something – whether it was bouncing the ball off the side of the house endlessly for hours, playing a mock softball game in the driveway (to this day I’m still surprised that no windows were ever broken…), or creating exciting new lives for our Barbies and building crayon roads in her bedroom for our Matchbox cars – she was ready for anything.  Her enthusiasm always ended up dragging me away from my 90210 marathons outside to the imaginary world waiting for us on the other side of the door.  Little S always did end up being much better entertainment than Tori Spelling ever could be.  And that is something that I will always thank her for.

Speaking of our younger years, Little S used to be quite the little tom boy.  My image of her as a child is of a small, freckle-faced girl in a Braves hat with a softball glove glued to her hand. Wait, that’s not much different than it is today, is it?  Anyway, she lived in that hat – Mom had to pry it off her head from time to time so we could actually see her face.  Now when I look at Little S, I see a beautiful mature woman, who occasionally still sports that glove.

It might be hard to see now, especially after she’s had a couple of beers, but Little S used to be so quiet and shy.  Luckily, I was there to be her mouthpiece until she found her own voice.  Now she is a sure-footed, strong woman, who knows want she wants and won’t quit until she achieves her goal.  That is always something I admired about her.  I get frustrated and tend to want to give up when something doesn’t go my way – Little S on the other hand will keep at it until she is successful.  Whether it was being a softball all-star or being the only girl on the snare drum line in marching band to finding the absolute perfect man for her to marry, Little S is one to set her eyes on the prize and get it.  Even though you are younger, I look up to you for your can-do spirit.  If you take that same attitude that you’ve always had, I know you will make a great wife to JT and a wonderful mother to your future quarter German, American, Chinese and eighth Thai and Laotian children.

Speaking of JT, I still remember when you called me after your first few weeks at your first job to tell me about the “cute boy that you worked with who was so nice and sweet and kept inviting you to office outings.”  The second I heard your voice, I knew that you had been bitten by the Love Bug.  Even though I couldn’t see your face, I knew you were smiling and your eyes were shining.  And when I met JT for the first time, I knew my predication was true and I could understand why.  When I was around you both, I saw a happiness that I had never seen in you before, and it made me smile.

I liked JT from the moment I met him, even though he is a Florida fan.  He is a person who exudes happiness.  He has a good heart and spirit and is someone you know you will have fun with.  And I knew he had staying power after I heard the story about your very first date.  Put together first date jitters, beers on an empty stomach, and a dinner consisting of a crepe filled with ham, cheese, and strawberry jelly (I still wonder what you were thinking when you made that selection…) and you end up with an unforgettable evening.  Since JT is a true gentleman, he walked you to your front door.  As you were standing there, trying to unlock it, you turned to him and said, “I think I’m going to be sick!”  I know JT had to feel slightly dejected since you’d had a great evening together, but he did the right thing and said, “If you don’t want me to come in, I can leave.”  As he was finishing his sentence, you shoved him out of the way to Ralph in the bushes.  Poor JT had no idea that was coming, but he was so worried about you that he stuck by your side for the rest of the evening – holding your hand and your hair.  That right there is how you know that you found “a keeper.”

On New Year’s Eve 2010, I pulled JT aside to chat.  After a few champagnes, I’d worked up the courage to tell him that I thought he was perfect for you and I could see the two of you together forever.  He fit right in with the family – he was the older brother I never had, and he was like a son to mom and dad.

Just imagine my happiness last August when JT pulled me aside to “talk to me.”  As we snuck away to chat in secret, he told me he was planning on proposing to you.  When he told me, it was all I could do to keep from screaming with joy for you two.  It was hard to keep my game face on for the rest of the evening when I knew the happy surprise waiting for you on your two year anniversary.   And by the way, I totally spilled the beans to everyone about five minutes after you walked out of the door.

And here we are today, a year and a little less than a month later.  You two have exchanged your vows and are now your own family.  And I couldn’t be happier.

You are my sister, and I will always be protective over you. No matter how old we are, I always feel the need to watch over you and stick up for you.  I know that feeling will never fade, but it’s nice to know that now you’ll have an extra set of eyes looking out for you for the rest of your life.  Today, I am officially passing the torch of being your guardian onto JT.

Little S and JT, I am so happy for the two of you!  I love you both so much and am glad that you found each other.  If I had known that fateful Christmas Day that my “special present” would be a gift that keeps on giving, and that not only would I have received a sister, but one day gain a brother, the look in my eyes would have been much more excited.

So let’s raise our glasses to the special couple and offer them a toast for a long life filled with continued happiness because their love is truly a gift.  Congratulations to my sister and my new brother!!!  Here’s to Little S and JT!!

Well, well.  I am a blogging super slacker.  I can’t believe I haven’t posted since March!  Things just have been so hectic this year, and time has gotten away from me.

As summer makes its punch you in the face with extreme heat entrance, it made me think of some things that I am really loving.  So I thought I’d come back from my hiatus and share it with you.

1.  Our sweet new ride

T has been dying to get a new car, especially since his A/C bit the dust last summer.  He didn’t want to go through another GA summer with open windows as the only way to “cool” down the car.  He wanted to get a really sporty car; I wanted something more practical.  In the end, after much hemming and hawing and a test drive, we opted for the sporty car – an Infinit G37S.  And guys, I love it!  Is it practical – no.  Is it a lot of fun to drive – yes.  Do I feel like a badass zooming past people on the highway (in the left lane) – yes.  Will I enjoy driving it for the rest of the week while T is at roasting alive at Bonnaroo – hell yes!

The shiny new car - Vrooom!

2.  Fun Nail Polish

The other week I was checking out a blog and stumbled across a post about Sally Hansen’s new Salon Effects – Real Nail Polish Strips.  I am not the best at painting my nails myself, so I thought these would be perfect for me.  I picked up the sparkly Blue Ice strips and gave them a whirl.  They are so easy to put on and don’t make a huge mess!  They lasted about a week, but that included time in the pool and cleaning house (which I’m sure isn’t helpful for staying power).  Plus, if I’d had some topcoat to apply on top after I stuck them on, I think they would have held up even longer.  My only complaint is that they are about $10 a box and only come with 16 strips.  This means that even if you have some leftovers, you can’t get a second use out of them.  Boo!

Another cool Sally Hansen product I’m loving is the new Crackle Overcoat.  It comes in eight fun shades and is super easy to apply.  You just pick out your base color, then top it with a crackle, and voila – awesome nails in an instant.  I chose black as a base topped with Fracture Foil (a silver coat), and I am in love!  It looks so cool, and each nail is slightly different.  I am so hooked.  I am planning on stopping by the store to pick up some more crackles in red, blue and maybe purple!

Fun nails

3.  Frozen Yogurt

For some reason 2011 has been the year of craving ice cream for me.  I’m not sure why, but I can’t seem to get enough of it.  But alas, ice cream isn’t the best for trying to be skinny.  Luckily for me, there is a Yoforia right by my office, so I can hit that up when I have a frosty craving.  Since it’s 90-million degrees in Atlanta today (and will be that way for the rest of the week), I decided that I should much on some fro-yo.  I like going there because you can sample all the flavors then pick your faves.  Today I went with a tasty combo of taro, cookies & cream, and peanut butter.  I topped these three with some dark and white chocolate chips.  Let me tell you, it was heaven!  All of the flavors are good, but taro is my favorite.  I’m not sure what it is about it, but I love it!

4.  Pool Time

I love water – pools, oceans (with no jellyfish), lakes, rivers, you name it.  Maybe it’s because I’m a water sign.  Maybe it’s because it’s so cool and refreshing.  Who knows… Anyway, this means that summer is one of my favorite seasons because I can spend my weekends lounging at the pool, working on my tan, and being in the water.  We have three pools in my neighborhood – two smaller ones intended for adults and one Olympic-sized one intended for families.  Maybe instead of just lounging around this summer, I can actually take my butt down to the big pool and swim some laps so I don’t look like a heifer at my sister’s wedding in September!

Is there anything that you are really loving at the moment?

*And if you are looking for a new blog read, Little S has started a blog.  Go check her out if you have a chance! *

 

Day 10 – A photo of your favorite place to eat

This one is so hard because I love so many places!

I am going to go with my favorite brunch/lunch weekend spot – West Egg Cafe.   If you live in Atlanta, you seriously need to check this place out.  The food is amazing – I’ve never had anything I didn’t love.

What makes it so great is that they offer quite the assortment of food.  From appetizers and breakfast all day to an assortment of sandwiches and entrees.  It’s all delicious!

One of my favorite items is the goat cheese with pepper jelly appetizer.  It’s seriously the best goat cheese I’ve ever had!  My other mouth-watering faves include the shortrib hash, turkey bacon gouda sandwich, fried green tomato wrap, and the pig and grits. The burgers and fries are also quite tasty!  They also make a number of amazing soups.  My favorite is spinach, but sadly it’s one of the ones they don’t make that often.

I wish I had some pictures of the food to share with you, but sadly I don’t.  But here are some shots of the restaurant itself!

 

Day 7 – Your dream wedding

I don’t ever remember dreaming about and plotting the perfect wedding when I was younger or even before I was married.  Call me odd I guess, but apparently my mind doesn’t work the same way as other females.

My wedding planning began once I had a ring on my finger.  I’d been to a few wedding before I got engaged, so I knew what I liked and didn’t like, but that’s where my thoughts ended.

When T and I got married in August 2008, I would have to say we had my dream wedding.   We tied the knot in a very modern space that was beautifully decorated, and T and I felt like it fit our styles and personalities perfectly.  We had a big party where all of our friends and family could celebrate with us.  The food was amazing, and everyone had a great time.  The best compliment that I received was people telling me it was the best wedding they’d ever been to.  That meant the most to me.

If I could go back and change a few things about that nearly perfect day, it would be that our grandparents who felt they were too old to travel so far (my German grandparents and his grandparents from New York) would have been able to be there to celebrate, our other German and northern family members that couldn’t come for one reason or another could have made it, and that it hadn’t poured rain all day.   If all those three things were changed, the day would have been absolutely perfect.

And now for your enjoyment, some wedding photos:

One of my favorite pictures

Our awesome venue - Lambert Place

My flowers were amazing

My hot husband and me

Day 6 – A photo of an animal you’d love to keep as a pet.

I am the biggest animal lover out there.  I know I’ve said this before, but I would have a zoo if I could.

It’s so hard to just pick one animal, so I will have to post a few of my favorite non-pet animals that I’d like to have as a pet.

A tiger - so cute and so ferocious

 

I love penguins - they are so smart and just adorable

 

The red panda, aka the Firefox mascot, is my new obsession

If you want to see the cutest live feed of these guys, check out FireFoxLive.org.

 

Shamu! I used to be obsessed with orcas when I was little

As a child, my dream job was to work at Sea World with these guys.  As I got older, I wanted to be a marine biologist and study them.  Unfortunately, science was not my strongest subject.  Sigh…

Day 5 – A photo of yourself two years ago.

On my wedding day

This is one of my favorite pictures from the wedding.  We were all “behind the scenes,” getting ready to walk out.  I’m pretty sure it was taken by one of my bridesmaids (JD or CMc) as we were all giddy with nervous excitement about heading out to begin the walk down the aisle.

I was happy, nervous, scared, but mostly excited, and I think this picture truly captures that emotion.  Plus, not to toot my own horn, but I think I look pretty damn good here!  🙂

Day 4 – Your favorite photograph of your best friend

Well, I accidentally missed some days in this 30 days challenge.  I completely spaced on posting over the weekend and meant to post last night, but I made quiche and then started reading Water for Elephants and couldn’t put it down.  (Hello holy run-on sentence)

I guess I will just post 30 different times, and they may not all be consecutive!

JD's Birthday Dinner - CGN, JD, Me

This is one of my favorite photos because we all look great and are genuinely happy.  We were out for JD’s birthday in 2010 and the waiter brought over a free a dessert and champagne so we could all toast to the birthday girl!

This was also about the halfway point of the birthday extravaganza.  We started with brunch, then got our nails done, went to dinner, met up with more friends for drinks, and ended the night in CGN’s bro’s hot tub.  All in all, I’d have to say it was a pretty successful birthday shindig.

Woo-hoo, I’m actually posting something.

Day 1 – A photo of yourself and a description of how your day was.

My giant cupcake and me

I took this picture of myself yesterday after I finished my lunch.  There is this cute little coffee place by my office that also sells lunch items, so we swung by to get some takeout.  At the register, I was lured in by a plate of delicious looking cupcakes.  Turns out they were Gigi’s Cupcakes, so I had to get one.

I chose Carmel Sugar Mama and was it ever tasty.  My only complaint is that there is so much icing on these little guys.  It looks so pretty, but I always feel bad wasting it. The cupcake did help brighten my afternoon, especially since I felt like I was coming down with something (scratchy throat and headache).

After work, I swung by Target to get some household items and stumbled across some cute shirts on sale, so I ended up buying them too! 🙂 When I was finished shopping, T and I decided to grab Korean BBQ tacos from our favorite little place by our house.  They are amazing!

Hankook Tacos - Crispy Shrimp Taco and Special Buffalo Chicken Taco

We ended the evening by watching Date Night.  If you haven’t seen it, I totally recommend it.  It’s hilarious.  We were laughing so hard.  At one point I was almost in tears!

You may or may not remember me mentioning that I was going to take a belly dancing class in the fall.  My friend JJ saw a Groupon that could be used to take 6 belly dancing classes, so we signed up.  (P.S. – If you aren’t a Groupon user, you need to get on board stat – that Website is amazing and has led to me try new things I may have never even considered in the past).   We were sort of slack about getting our act together and actually deciding on a class and signing up.  Low and behold, December had arrived and we hadn’t signed up and our Groupon looked like it might expire.  Luckily it was extended through January, so we finally signed up.  I am so glad we did because it’s so much fun!

We are taking beginner classes at Nazeem Allayl (to my Atlanta readers – if you are interested in belly dancing, go here!), and I feel like I am learning so much!  I can actually do the moves pretty well once we learn them, if I do say so myself.  With continued practice, I could actually look pretty slick!

The funny thing about taking the class is that I didn’t think the moves would come to me so easily since I had no experience with belly dancing in the past.  Sure I could hip shimmy (your hips/butt look like they are vibrating because you move your legs so fast), but I was clueless about the rest of the moves.  Yeah, from time to time they are hard, and I often leave class super sore, but it’s so much fun.  And it’s a great workout because you are constantly moving and doing moves for whole songs at a time, so it’s a total win-win!

Every move you do starts from belly dance stance, which is you standing with your knees bent (like you are about to sit in a chair), chest out, pelvis rolled in, and your arms out in a soft W-shape.  After a while, your thighs and arms start to burn like crazy, but at least you know you are working something.  So far we have learned a lot of different hip lifts, drops, and shimmies.  Next week we’ll learn the maneuvers that use only your stomach and abs.  I’m really wondering how hard this is going to be…

I have three classes left and am seriously considering continuing with another six classes after these are done.  You work a lot of different muscles (ones that I don’t use on a normal basis), get your heart rate up, and you laugh and have a great time while learning cool dance moves.  If you are looking for something fun or different to add to your workout routine, I totally recommend trying belly dancing.

Besides, who doesn’t like to wear a pretty, jingly hip sash?  🙂

My next adventure will be a Zumba class with JD.  Thanks again Groupon!

So, Atlanta and the state of Georgia (along with much of the Southeast) have been pummeled by a major snow storm that has been topped off with a nice glaze of freezing rain.  The city and state have shut down, literally.  I was looking at a list of closings, and there were more than 900 schools, businesses, and churches closed today.  A large chunk of them will be closed tomorrow.  (I am still waiting with bated breath for my boss to share the great news with us that the office will be closed.  I’m not sure what she is waiting for, all major businesses and school systems are closed.  The state government is telling people to stay home.  I live at the top of a large hill that was an ice luge earlier today; I’m not risking myself or my car to go to work tomorrow.)

Laugh all you will my northern friends, but the south is not equipped to handle this.  We don’t have the equipment to handle the snow, and you add ice into the mix and we are just fucked.  People who were stupid enough to try to drive today either ended up in an accident or had to abandon their cars on the side of the road because they couldn’t get enough traction to go anywhere.  I don’t know about you, but I enjoyed being snowed in at my house with T and my kitties, cooking and eating good food, and enjoying the icy winter wonderland waiting outside our windows.  The extra time off is a major plus too!

T and I were both off today, so we made the most of it and went out a few times to enjoy the snow.  We got snowed in in New York when we were there for Christmas, but it was too powdery to do anything with and the winds were gusting at 20+ miles an hour, making the 20s feel like teens.  Here it wasn’t too horrible.  It was brisk (but not NY brisk) and a little icy rainy, but we tromped around the neighborhood for a while.  Then we decided to make a snowman.

Since the snow had already begun to ice over, it was too difficult to make a large snowman.  Instead, we opted to make a mini one, along with a snowcat to keep him company.  I had so much fun!  I felt like I was a little kid again.  When we were done, we headed inside to make some chili and warm up.

Later in the day, we went sledding.  Since we were unprepared for the conditions, we didn’t have a sled.  So we had to improvise.  First we tried a garbage can lid, which didn’t work at all.  We were pretty bummed, until we saw a mom with her kids, sledding on a cookie sheet.  Luckily we had two really large ones, so we took the less nicer of the two and hit the slopes (or the iced-over street).  Here we were, late 20-somethings, laughing and giggling like kids.  The only other sledders were young kids who were being watched by their parents.  It was so much fun!  It’s days like today that make me really miss living in snowy places (even though I know if we were up north, we’d have been at work today).  I can’t wait to bust out the cookie sheet again tomorrow!

Here are some fun pictures from our Snowcation in Hotlanta!

 

Mini snowman and snowcat

The snowfall Sunday night

Fado checking out the snow this morning

T, after his cookie sheet luge

Me with our "sled," rocking the Eskimo look

 

And to round this bad boy out, here are a couple of  “sledding” videos:

Flickr Photos

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