Liz’s Bachelorette Party

This weekend we celebrated Liz at an Airbnb south of Dallas. We did stuff in Dallas and Ft. Worth, don’t worry. But Patty’s Airbnb was the star of the show.

The house was clearly in the middle of being flipped and we were constantly discovering unfinished projects in every room. It did have a sweet pool, four basketball hoops (excessive, I know) and plenty of room for activities. There’s nothing better than full reign of a stranger’s house and celebrating an impeding wedding to turn a group of almost strangers into friends in a weekend.

I say this after every bachelorette weekend, but I love meeting my friends’ people. In the adult world where it’s sometimes hard to make friends, weekends like these feel pretty effortless.

We brunched, we burlesqued, we swam, we ate and we danced. We also got carried away with the boomerangs. Check it.

Cheers to the #MrsMestaWorldTour! 🍾

A video posted by Shannon Whitney (@shannwhitney) on

Jumping into the #mrsmestaworldtour like…📷 @shannwhitney

A video posted by Katie Doerhoff Kirkenmeier (@katie_ann_kirk_) on

💋#mrsmestaworldtour #burlesque #bacheloretteweekend

A video posted by D A N I E L L A (@daniella_ellla) on

With the soon-to-be Mesta! @lillizb #mrsmestaworldtour #bacheloretteweekend

A video posted by D A N I E L L A (@daniella_ellla) on

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hustling for mizzou

This week Josh and I filled in at some college fairs for Brandon. We love taking about Mizzou, actually we both just love talking. I did a couple last year, and it turns out, I still got it.

As you can imagine, the students and parents ask the same couple of questions: hows your X program? What do you need to get in? What’s the cost? What scholarships are available? Where is Missouri? What is fall like? Does Columbia have an airport?
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Since Josh and I worked together last night, some of the time we talked to the same student or family and when it got a bit busy, we each chatted with separate students. Overhearing Josh saying the same things as me but in Josh-fashion cracked me up.

Stuff I legit heard him say…

“So classes… They’re good.”

“Columbia is the Goldilocks town, not too big, not too small, just right.”

“We can’t guarantee you’ll get a job, because that’s impossible, but we’ll do our best.”

“I played on the club ultimate team and traveled all over. It’s not like you think. It was intense.”

“We recommend visiting in the fall or the spring, unless you have a winter coat, then the winter is ok too. You’ll just need a good coat.”

“If you visit this year, take a tour and ask for my sister to be your guide.”

“I’m just a volunteer. Ask Brandon, he’s the professional rep. I work for Frito Lay, so I’m the expert in chips. I can answer all your chip questions.”

“I would go back to college forever if I could. Would you, Shannon? I would.”

Things he surprisingly didn’t talk about:

Dining hall food

That time he played in a band and performed at the Blue Fuge.

How his flannel protected him from Missouri winter.

I’m sure I blurted out some weird stuff too. After repeating yourself so often, you forget what you’re saying or try to switch it up. If you know Josh though, you can hear this stuff falling out of his mouth. He had one fan who just wouldn’t leave our table. That guy wanted to come home with us and hang out with Josh around the clock.

Besides laughing at Josh, it gives me the warm fuzzies to talk about MU. Man, I miss that place.

chicago with the erins

We try to plan at least one bestie get away each year, preferably two. We throw a weekend on the calendar, start texting about places to go and then decide if husbands are invited (this time they were not). We mix and match the same trip ingredients for the most part, but when you find what works you do it.

Here’s what we did/always do…

Eat. EJS found us some tacos and then some meatballs and then a quiet dinner place where we met up with Kate. EOE took us to her childhood ice cream parlor. There was also dominoes pizza and donuts in there too. No regrets.

Photo Credit: Michael Nguyen | LazyEight Photography

Photo Credit: Michael Nguyen | LazyEight Photography

Drink. Obviously, when I mentioned tacos I also meant margaritas. Did we need the second pitcher, look I don’t know. On Saturday afternoon we checked out the Revolution Brewery and then caught a show at Improve Olympics.

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Talk about celebrities like we know them. I like to think we’re not the only people who do this. We helped EJS clear out some of the episodes of Ellen on her DVR. We got into the nitty gritty of the HiddleSwift break up. Naturally, we caught up on our real lives and our real friends too.

Something new or touristy. On Friday afternoon, we rode the 606 bike trail on divibikes. Saturday meant the brewery tour. We’re all about learning and expanding our horizons.

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Cuddles. EOE and I snuggled on the pullout couch overlooking the city of Chicago. EJS tried to join us, but Nick made her go to her bed. Deaton the dog found some room between us. He burrows in like you might leave him behind in the middle of the night.

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Fitness.  Both Erins are class passers, and on our last few trips we’ve found classes to go to together. This time we tried a cardio dance class and loved it.

So that’s pretty much all we need for a great weekend. See you ladies in like 6ish months so we can do it again?

Helping Erin get ready using her phone as a mirror…

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a case for comfortable footwear

At the beginning of my 27th year, I decided there are certain things I should start buying better. I try to buy food with less packaging. Instead of a lot of plastic, I divide stuff up into my Tupperware. To treat myself like the adult I am, I’m slowly shifting to purchasing quality clothing. This means stuff that isn’t as sheer, isn’t as cheap, fits me well, flatters and, overall, less chincy jersey knit.

Above all, my feet are begging for more sensible shoes.  My knees have been acting up lately and my feet are only really comfortable in sneakers. Ariel, who works across the aisle from me teases about my tennis shoes and jeans look. It’s not the cutest, but I do have smaller, less athletic-looking sneaks at least. Luckily the office dress code is ultra casual.

I’m a busy woman who loves to walk. There’s no time to slow down because my feet hurt. What’s that quote about butt prints in the sands of time?

Most of the summer, I live in sandals. I have quite a few pairs stuffed into our main closet, but I wear the soles out of them only to replace them with other cheapo, cute sandals. To fulfill my new promise to take care of my feet, I spent most of the summer searching for the perfect, supportive sandal.

This involved quite bit of internet research, as well as some shopping. Everything I found was either too senior citizen or too camp counselor. My dream sandal worked for work and stomping around all day on trips. The truly comfortable ones looked more at home on the dock. The dressier ones my grandma wears (No shame in your game, gma. You look great.).

Even ones claiming comfort had a cardboard or skinny foam sole. I need the big guns, I need arches.

It’s like the shoe industry is inkahoots with the knee replacement people and podiatrists. Let’s sell them janky shoes until their parts wear out and then charge them for knee braces and insoles galore! I’m 27; I do what can best be described as moderate exercise. There’s no lingering sports injury or training regiment that’s rough on my body. I’m not chronically overweight, I should not have foot problems.

Finally, I found these leather chacos. The classic chacos are a little too crunchy for my work wear, but these are leather! They look like causal sandals, right? Just tell me I’m right because I already bought them. On sale!

So now I’m part of #chaconation. And my feet are happy! Sorry to everyone who was rooting for me to give up on the great sandal search of 2016 so they would never have to look at my toes again.

Don't zoom in on my toes, trust me.

Don’t zoom in on my toes, trust me.

the deep, deep depths of my reading recommendation list

Books are probably a lot like crystal meth. I say probably because I’ve never tried crystal meth and it’s not on my to do list, if you know what I mean. This analogy is to illustrate how just a little bit makes you a little crazy and then you need more more more. That’s how drugs work, at least that’s what I gathered from DARE in 1998.

I have a GoodReads account where I keep track of what I’ve read, when I finished it and how much I liked it. I highly recommend getting on the site so you can creepily see what your friends and random old acquaintances are reading. Friends are easy to hold close to your heart in the book department. Shoot a text while you’re at the library, “What should I read next?” They respond. People who you shared one class with in college and really admired for their forward thinking on Cross Cultural Communications don’t respond to texts like that, mainly because I don’t have their phone numbers. This is where GoodReads comes in handy. Now I know what they are reading.

Besides spying on other’s libraries, GoodReads allows me to make a to do list for future books. Whenever I run across a review or click on a 58 BOOKS THAT WILL MAKE YOU FEEL BETTER NO MATTER WHO YOU ARE kind of list, I just open the app, look up the book and boop, click “Want to Read.” Right now there are 299 waiting patiently for me to request them from the library. By the end of the day, there very well could be 10 more.

Right now, I’m working on The Sport of Kings. It’s not the best book I’ve read, but I haven’t given up hope yet. Josh keeps asking me how I like it, and I shrug him off with a “meh.” Last night he asked who recommended it. Here’s the thing, I read a review in the New Yorker and added it to my list. Then the title popped up somewhere else. I recognized it from the first review and added it to my library request list. I really wish I could remember where I saw it but oh well.

Much like walking around Half Price Books and scrolling through lists of X Books to Read Before You’re 30 and 14 Classics Your High School Teacher Never Assigned (why am I such a sucker for those?), these lists make me feel like a good for nothing shulb. What am I even doing? I’m in no way ready to turn 30 or be a functioning member of society because I never read Pride and Prejudice!

Really, I missed that one, and I’ve always meant to go back and read it. Perhaps it’s not too late.

The other day someone emailed me to join this book club thing where they send me 5-10 books each month and I have to write reviews of them. This is my dream job, by the way. The problem here is, it only pays $50 a month. I know! The first thought that passed through my mind was, “Keep you’re filthy money! I’ll read for free! You can’t start paying me and suck the fun out of this.”

Then I thought about how long it would take for me to read five extra books every month. You can’t expect me to stop reading the ones on my own list. Well, I’d need to quit my job, or at least go part time. While I’m not making a ton, the $50/month compensation doesn’t make up for my salary.

The moral of this story is, I should not quit my job for this reading gig.

On the bright side, I have the rest of my life- which I’m hoping is a sold 60 or so more years to chip away at this growing list. If I don’t get to every last one, it’s not like there’s a comprehensive test to get in to Heaven…But what if there is?

swedish fish oreos

swedish fish oreos

I bought Swedish Fish Oreos because I didn’t have a choice.  They were on sale for $2.00 and that was a deal I couldn’t resist.

They sound absolutely disgusting. Why would anyone combine the chewy, fruity goodness of swedish fish with the chalky-perfect chocolate taste of oreos? Both excellent in their own right, no need to combine. They aren’t complimentary flavors in anyone’s book.

Still, I bought a pack this week. I felt an obligation to the research and development crew at Nabisco who must have read my diary wanting to combine my favorite snacks.
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I hate to say this, but they are disgusting. It’s like sandwiching a swedish fish between two oreos. Turns out that’s not a good thing. Your milk gets a sweet, syrupy flavor too, no bueno.

The pack is 2/3 full and I don’t know if I can finish. If these were regular oreos, they would be gone.  If nothing good comes out of this, at least I can share this info with my huge readership.

So, go ahead and feel confident purchasing Double Stuffs because you’re not missing anything over here.

year one

Can you believe it’s been a year since our wedding? Me neither.

Sometimes I think we’re just kids pretending to be married and someone is going to bust into our apartment and say, “You’re not old enough! You don’t know what you’re doing! You aren’t allowed.”  Then we do something weirdly mature like figure out our car insurance together and I realize that, yep, we’re the real deal.

wedding dance

It’s been a fun year full of figuring each other out while living in close, close quarters. We’re bending and learning where we have to give a little space about what’s important. It’s a work in progress, and while a year seems like a decent amount of work, it’s nothing in the grand scheme of things.

Most of our weeks become a blend of a variety show with singing, instruments and SNL-worthy impressions and accents, mixed with a cooking show for simple-minded folks who love Mexican food, all set in an apartment full of half-packed bags either coming or going from somewhere. The ratings are so-so, but we love it.

When I stop and think of being with Josh when we’re in our 70s, I can’t imagine it. That feels like eons away- will he still play piano? Will I still cook chicken three days a week? Will we still have full heads of hair? There’s no saying.

One down a million more to go. Love ya, Joshie Boy.

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worth the gold?

While watching the Olympics, I can’t help but to feel jealous. I wish I could represent my country and the best at something in the world.  Standing on that podium and hearing our national anthem while everyone cheers and cries would be a dream. Wearing the flag (or the leotard) of our proud country that some people are convinced is going to the shitter while competeing on the world stage is out of my reach.

Thanks a lot mom and dad for not strong arming me into an obscure sport.  Your parents have to get you started early and make you stick with it even when all your friends quit. Oh, and raw talent, genetic predisposition and unlimited funds for coaches/competitions/gear.

field hockey Thanks to Bob Costas and Ryan Seacrest, we know the back story of all these athletes. They pushed their hardest for their whole lives to get to Rio. To complete on that level, those folks have incredible dedication. I audibly let our an “awww” every time they run the video of the gymnasts as babies.

So the recipe for success is: start early and work the hardest.

Would I have missed Saturday morning cartoons to drive across the state for a competition?

I would have had to say no to a lot of Oreos.

Every morning, could I get up early practice before school?

Could I have swapped Girl Scout camps for swim camps?

Would I have missed dinner with my family every night for conditioning training?

Honestly, I wouldn’t change a thing. I’m grateful for my experiences and I’ll have to live without that medal. Cheering from my couch will have to do.

So, I guess I’m glad my parents didn’t force me to stick with a sport for my whole life. I’ll settle to be average instead of Olympic. Mostly, I’m sorry that I didn’t make them Olympic parents who get screen time for looking too excited/nervous/celebratory.  Sorry, I let you down, mom and dad.

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very “busy”

This week I’ve been tied up in too many things to count. Embarrassingly, I’ve second guessed actual commitments to devote more time to these increasingly important happenings.

First thing, the Olympics. The summer games always pull me in like a magnet. The heart-wrenching stories, the crying parents, the cheeky commentators; I’m enamored. We finally figured out the antenna, so we can even watch it on NBC like regular Americans and not off some international website. We are living the life.

Did you watch this? Did you tear up? Me neither. Me neither.

from here

from here

Next, I’m reading like a fiend. I’m in the third book of the Outlander series. I’m about 450 pages deep into its 1000+ page bulk. The historical fiction has me in a strangle hold. I thought I may have given up on this series by now since it’s so long-winded, but I’m still trucking.  The part I’m reading right now takes place in Edinburgh, it’s giving me the itch to plan a trip to Scotland…

Besides actual reading, Josh and I started a book on CD on the drive to Hefferfest. He slept through most of the good stuff, but I’m on the last disc of the set. This week I was looking for any excuse to run errands and spend an extra minute getting in or out of the car. Coincidentally, it’s been the hottest week of the year here in Dallas, so there’s been some sweaty listening sessions.

My inner introvert squashed my usual extrovert this week. Usually I like to talk on the phone and catch up with people as I drive or putz around the house. This week I was a bad daughter/sister/friend with my nose stuck in a book.  Sorry, peeps.

Hefferfest ’16: Team Heff

My second Hefferfest was one for the books. I hope I can say that after every one.

It was great for a lot of reasons, three stand out.

  1. We had a ban on talking politics. This should be necessary for all vacations during election years. I highly recommend it. It holds especially true when spending time with people coming from all kinds of party affiliations, income brackets, ages, and slices of life that you will have to see again and again. Best just keep the focus on the olympics, ya know?
  2. We had nothing to do. Josh and I travel pretty often and we’re always sweating on how to get somewhere flying standby, then making a last-minute decision on where to stay. We try to cram in each and every recommended restaurant, tour and to do while we’re there (or we hike 10 miles in a day). It’s fun, but not relaxing in the same way sitting on a lake you’ve been to a million times is. Some folks turn their nose up on revisiting the same places for vacation, but this is a type of relaxation you can only enjoy in a location you’ve been, surrounded by hillbilly shows and tshirt shops.
  3. The Heffernans are a fun bunch. This is crucial when it comes to group trips. Boating and floating can’t be bad, but it helps when everyone climbs into the same bed at the end of the night for selfies or roses and thorns.

We managed most of the week without sunburns or chasing rainbows- although one was spotted.  This year’s theme was Team Heff, inspired by the olympics. Steph and Alex made the best tshirts and even a flag. We tried for a couple of of competitions, but ended up playing board games instead.

Our group had at least three GoPros floating around, here are some of my photos. I’ll hopefully have a video soon.

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