nights like tonight...

Tonight I was reminded of exactly why I haven't spent any extra time behind my computer this summer, like... AT ALL!! 
Even with the Summer days and nights ABSOLUTELY flying by us- we are soaking it all in, and tonight was no expection!


* #TrueStory: MN to IA/NE back to MN in 36 hours

Hi friends, it's been a while, huh!? Well... before catching up with life I have to hit pause and share a fun adventure that I took last weekend. I hopped into a car named "Harlow" and trusted one of my blogger buddies Kristin to drive all the way to Council Bluffs, IA/Omaha, NE with two other great blogger friends- Dawn & Carolyn.

You might be asking, or shouting, HUH, Why!?!?! .... well let's just say this- we [as in us bloggers] all have our favorite far away bloggers, that live in another state! #itsafact. AND if ever given the chance to meet them, you would, RIGHT!? That is exactly the case with "Katie Mango" one of my favorite far away blogger friends! She's the type of blogger that I tell other bloggers about. Saying something along the lines of, "do you read Katie Mango? No, well you NEED to start!" "Katie Mango" has great style, a fun job, an adorable family, she's BEAUTIFUL and has great values! So, you know you want to... get on over there and get to know Katie over @ Yellow Mango Life

I know that Kristin, Dawn & Carolyn will also share their stories from this weekend at some point- so be sure to pop on over to their blogs. I know I'm looking forward to reliving these 36ish hours with them!

My take on this CRAZY and ridiculously fun Sunday/Monday roadtrip- already has me laughing out loud. Words will never express the amount of fun that we had. So I have been thinking about the best way to go about this and I have decided to go with a timeline of sorts to share my story.

 Let's begin... as I mentioned we headed South to IA on a Sunday, so Aaron, Avrie and I had my cousin's wedding on Saturday (more on that another time) but I will share one little detail which allows for me to start my timeline at 11:45pm on Saturday night.

SAT 6.28 @ 11:45pm: Andrea has too much to drink, it really wasn't A LOT but I guess her body was telling her something, like "STOP you have a very important BLATE in the morning!"

Sun 6.29 @ 2:30am: Andrea wakes up in the car, in the garage. (ok, i'm done talking in third person) oh AND Aaron has photo proof of this that I will NOT be sharing.

4:30am: My alarm goes off. I cry. I then hit snooze...

5:20am: I force myself out of bed

5:35am: I talk myself into a cure... a good ol' fashion round of BARF!

5:45am: MUCH better... but now I am running late for this very important blate!

6:00am - 6:50am: I am on the road to Farmington w/ zero traffic

7:00am - 7:05am: Hanging my head & being shamed by the group

We loaded up the car and after a stop by Starbucks we were on our way!

7:30am - 1:05pm: Time passed by quicker than one might think with a couple of pit stops, me falling asleep in the car (which resulted in a couple of unflattering photos- Dawn is SO nice to me!) mixed CDs to which Kristin & Carolyn were belting out BSB, all of us chowing down on Doritos (who knew nacho cheese Doritios would settle my stomach!?) I was proud of myself for not feeling carsick at all. 

We made it to Council Bluffs with about an hour to spare, so what does any girl do when she has the slightest bit of extra time... a Target run- OF COURSE!

1:05pm - 1:15pm: We stepped out of the car and into some sticky, sunny & humid weather. At this point I should mention that we were all STARVING but also SUPER indecisive...

Our plans were to meet [FINALLY] meet Katie Mango at her Yoga event. It was suppose to be outdoors, but early morning weather moved the event inside at another venue. We decided that we probably didn't want full stomachs before yoga, so we hopped back into the car and make our way to our destination. We had heard that there would be some free swag, so we didn't want to miss out on that.

1:30pm: We found ourselves circling the convention center's parking lot, to which we had a Katie Mango sighting... she DOES exist. 

This is where we could either face our random nerves & excitement & go in OR just turn that little Harlow around and head back to MN.

1:35pm - 1:45pm: Yoga Tailgating & selfies. That Kristin, she's the best.

Carolyn and I stood back saying NO WAY, NO HOW! 
Look close and you can see us being LAME in the reflection of Kristin's sunglasses.
We watched with judgy faces- but soon half gave in... HA!

1:47pm: We enter the building!
1:48pm: We see Katie Mango again!
1:49pm: We huddle together for a game plan...
1:50pm: Katie Mango disappears
1:51pm: Katie Mango is back in eye shot...
1:52pm: Kristin, energetically jumps up and down waving!!!
1:53pm: Katie Mango does not see Kristin
1:54pm: I DIE LAUGHING!!!

...seriously, I can't stop laughing as I write that BAHHH HAHAHA!!!

1:55pm: Kristin & I lock arms and march on over to Katie Mango.  
 this time she sees us! ;)

1:56pm: We meet, we hug, we laugh... we talk about how dorky we all are!

**it should be noted that Dawn & Carolyn are pretending they DO NOT know us at this point!

2:15pm - 4:00pm: All four of us successfully complete an awesome session of yoga. We thank the instructor afterwards, winning NOTHING as far as door prizes but spend time taking some pretty priceless photos! AND loving our free headbands, I guess I was sought out as the cooler one of the group and managed to get TWO headbands, one being pink, and loved by EVERYONE!

at this point, really the whole night, Katie HAD to have been like "who are these girls....???"

4:30pm-ish: We headed on over to the Horseshoe casino for lunch. We loved being escorted thru the casino and right to the cafe- we must have looked hungry. God knows our yoga attire, early morning wake up/all day car ride hair & makeup didn't scream "we are here to win millions!"

4:45pm-ish: We absolutely STUFFED our faces with lunch wraps and fries! YUM.

5:30pm-ish: We headed over to the casino Harrah's [that's HAIR-A'S and not HARRR-A'S] to check into our room.

We found our way up to the 5th floor and plopped our things into room 501. While letting phones charge we relaxed, unpacked, made cocktails (NOT for me... still not feeling the whole idea of alcohol... i was scolded for this unthinkable refusal...) we then arranged the order of getting ready for the night. After a while, Katie came up to our room looking as gorgeous as ever!

After a cheers to the evening & beautifying ourselves we headed up to the 12th floor for drinks. We found ourselves at Jack Binion's Steakhouse, where we had a great view, tall glasses of water (for me), a couple of drinks (i DID eventually give in!) and a couple delicious apps that Katie had ordered and we each stole a few bites.

While finishing up drinks/apps & a photo session- we were lucky to head up to the rooftop [not a public space, think VIP baby!] You can only imagine the photo opportunities that endlessly popped into each of our little blogger brains- most of which were beautifully executed.

9:00pm: Katie had us all pile into her Jeep and took us over the bridge and into downtown Omaha, NE. Let me just say... what a fun little downtown Omaha has!!! There were SO many fun places, it was hard to know exactly where we wanted to go! Luckily, Katie is a great host and knew all the right places.

The first stop being... a parking lot... we had a weeny truck spotting!!! Not something you just pass up. Again... the photo possibilities were ENDLESS! Here is where you are going to want to check in with Kristin, this little stop made her night!

Our second stop was to Sake Bombers Lounge. We enjoyed lemondrops & a variety of sushi, it was all REALLY super good! Being that it was Sunday- the bar wanted to close down so we didn't end up staying here for drinks. We were all bummed by the slackers server & buzz kill but end up with full bellies, none the less. All we do is eat- just another reason I get along SO great with these girls!

After Sake's, we walked to a hole in the wall Irish pub, it may have smelled like potatoes, had a scary dungeon, a rowdy 21st birthday and bad dancers- but pretty much the perfect spot to people watch and chat the rest of our evening away.

ok, back to my timeline...

Monday 6.30 @ 12:30am: We all hit "The Mommy Wall" we were tired, we simply exhausted ourselves with all of the fun & excitement that the days events brought to us. We had an absolute blast, and as much as we didn't want it to end, we figured Katie didn't need to be out THIS late with us on a Sunday night. She was more than happy too- which makes her pretty much the coolest!

1:00am: Back in room 501 the four of us recalled some of the fun[niest] moments of the day & took one last ridiculous group picture for the day.

... bed time!! ...

The next morning, 9:30am: Sleeping in felt GREAT!! In record time, we all managed to get up, get ready & pack in just over an hour and be out of our hotel before checkout. No one was dragging, no one was hungover, we all felt rested & rejuvenated. Which was perfect, because we had another big day of EATING & a long drive back home!

11:10am: We met Katie for lunch at Blatt Beer & Table. Oh my gosh... let me just say this. BEST. FOOD. EVER! We had soft pretzel bites, homemade potato chips, burgers & mac & cheese. All of it was so good, my mouth is waters just thinking about it! I'd go back JUST for the German Mustard dipping sauce!

Our time in Omaha, NE was nearing the end. After we finished up lunch we said our goodbyes [until hopefully another time] and Katie was off to work! It was SO fun meeting her, she was SO NICE & went above and beyond in showing us such a great time! We are hoping that we have her talked into coming up to MN sometime! We're pretty sure MN isn't as cool- but we'd do our best to make it a blast!

After a walk around the block and a weather check-in w/ Aaron and the radar we were headed back to MN. Aaron mentioned that we might run into trouble with a storm, so told us to keep an eye on the radar as we drive out of NE/IA.

12:30pm - 7:30pm: SUCH A BLUR... we stopped a couple of times for bathroom breaks, gas & Caribou. We were driving in rain the entire drive in Iowa- at one point we hit some one lane traffic in Adair & Casey Iowa where some pretty heavy rain & damaging winds had moved through. THANK GOD we missed the worst of THAT and only had to deal with facing some threatening looking clouds that sent all four of us into a MAJOR panic attack. I called Aaron [my weatherman] to help calm all of us down. It seemed that we were just behind the storm and would only be hitting rain. He was right so we did make it out of Iowa nice and safe. WHEW. Kristin & Harlow ROCKED that rain!

[i know this photo already appears in the beginning of this post, 
but it's too funny too see again if you made it through this post! ;)]

We knew were home SAFE when we managed to survive the MN welcome sign selfie aka mosquito attack! After our last rest stop potty break we all became a little antsy in the car. We were so close to being done in the car we almost couldn't stand it. We each couldn't WAIT to get home to our little ones & frankly I think our humor is enough to wear anyone out! HAHAHAHA. 

For the last leg of our trip & before we bid our farewells; we distracted ourselves with #ThePinkHeadband this is just a little something that became highly coveted and will remain so as long as we are friends. You WILL be seeing her again, and again... but the question being, WHEN!?

Kristin, THANK YOU to you & Harlow for safe & fun travels. I knew you were fun but never knew just HOW fun... you & your goofball ways crack me up! Keep that T.W. of yours in check! Dawn, What can I say, BBB... you are so mean to me but I can't imagine living without you! Me & my dead sleepiness were way too tired to care about those LOVELY photos... but I'll get you back my little pretty, THREE times! Carolyn, Let's NEVER do yoga again, k!? Oh and let's NEVER give into YOGA tailgating peer pressure either... AND please wear something WAY 'cooler' the next time we go out, something along the lines of a pink headband, maybe!? & Katie, There aren't enough Thank You's and I hope you know how much I (we) truly appreciate you taking time from your busy schedule to hang out with us dweebs for couple of days! You sure did find your way into our hearts by keeping us well fed! And remember.. NO ONE EVER.... puts Katie in corner, except us MN blogger crazies!!

:: all photos were taken and shared amongst the 4 of us ::
check out #MNmeetsMango for the #instamadness 


* Our 3 Year Old

This last year has been a quick one, a fun one, a crazy one, and at times- a stressful one... pretty much anything that would describe raising a busy, funny, fun loving, normal SASSY toddler girl.

[birthday eve rootbeer floats!]

Avrie turned the big THREE! As the day approached I found myself becoming pretty emotional... I can't really explain exactly why except for when I reflect back on the year, I realize that we have- SHE has come a long way since her lst birthday, since the day she was born! so yeah, that's probably why?!

From day to day, we tend to over look the joy that one year can bring. So let's take a look back at a few things as I try to remember many firsts, huge milestones, personality traits and so forth, that have helped Avrie step onto the stones to a path of being a big girl!

:: ALL of these are things to have happened/occurred BEFORE her 3rd birthday 
on June 28th, 2014 ::

To celebrate Avrie's birthday, unlike years one and two, we didn't have a party {insert sad face}. My cousin's wedding was on the night of 6.28.14 so we figured that with most of our family being all in one spot we would skip the party. Besides, Avrie would be SO happy and excited to dance the night away at a wedding- and that is EXACTLY what she did, she had a ball! {{the kid LOVES weddings!}}

{Birthday Morning} We woke up that morning to balloons, birthday breakfast and the her birthday presents. Avrie got her FIRST Barbie, a Barbie card, a baseball hat, a few other small items and an Elsa dress for dress-up! She loved it all!


{Birthday Day} We then spent the rest of our morning/afternoon together picking strawberries at the berry patch down just the road from our house and also spent time at the huge Marine on St Croix state park- also just down the road from us.

{Birthday Night} After such  busy and exhausting morning we headed home to rest and get ready for Danny & Sarah's wedding. Following a beautiful & intimate ceremony, Avrie & Chase buddied up for the first part of the evening. After Chase headed up to his room with Grandma Linda, Avrie took over the dance floor. She was poured a glass of sparkling JUICE to go with her dinner. The happy birthday song played for her (and for a couple others as well) from what I knew, there where three birthday girls in attendance.

All in the day was great! It was a beautiful sunny day, it then turned hot, then got cool ending in a MASSIVE down pour- perfectly symbolic to the flood of emotions I felt that day. I woke up feeling great and SO happy for my girl and then by the end of the day/night I was a HUGE puddle. I'll talk more about the wedding in another post, another time. This was also the day before my trip to IA/NE with my blogger girls- yicks!

Also, I mentioned this on Facebook, but now that Avrie is three she has to have and do everything in threes; 3 cookies, 3 band-aides, 3 books before bed, three of EVERYTHING!

I'm going to turn it around on her though, with things like... "Avrie you can be done after you have THREE more bites of your dinner..." #momwins #istbeenworkinglikeaCHARM!



real real quick... I wanted to fill you all in on something we are going to call #FreidFriday...

you all know, love and HAVE a friend like Freid in your life. That friend is always up for ANYTHING, will help out ANYTIME he can. He will show up to a freezing cold 30 degree Halloween Party in a tiny blue speedo. He usually drinks too much and then make no sense at all. He will book a week at a condo in Florida with you and your family & entertain you & BURN TO A COMPLETE CRISP! He will talk to anyone about anything oh yeah AND he knows EVERYONE!!

Well, that sums up our friend Freid... but because there is SO much more to him we will let #FreidFriday do all the talking! 

I participated week 1 [and this was my photo submitted]

--we all forgot about it week 2--

but we are all back at it for week 3!!! [Aaron's photo that he submitted this week]
Freid front row- as if you couldn't tell... :D

Search the hashtag and prepare to be entertained OH and if you happen to have any Freid photos floating around, POST THEM, because chances are... you KNOW HIM TOO!!

[and here is MY photo for this week!] TGIF my friends... T.G.I.F.!


* Our idea of a 'Home Away From Home'

This weekend we will be traveling North for BIRTHDAY WEEKEND! My favorite Birthday celebration at the lake being my 30th (seen here). While keeping that in mind, I wanted to quickly talk about the concept of what Aaron, Avrie and I might consider our "Home Away from Home"... THE LAKE!!

[the lake at sunset] 

We have been VERY lucky to have been apart of MANY summer weekends spent in Hayward at the Paine cabin on Lac Courte Oreilles. And also the newly purchased (just last year) Evenson cabin on Cross Lake. Again very very lucky to spend weekends upon weekends away from home, but feeling right at home- all of the time. 

Aaron grew up hanging out on one of a bajillion "Bass Lakes" in MN where he perfected both his tan and his wakeboarding skills. I on the other hand, I steer WAY clear of large bodies of water. I like to be on them, but in a boat keeping dry and catching a tan- nothing more!

Aaron has managed to help me see the lake light and, I too, REALLY love the lake life. We wish to someday have our own lake place to enjoy the sunny & rainy weekend of late Spring, Summer & early Fall. Being at lake, relaxing, settling in for just a few days, eating cabin food, sitting around the fire, cruising the lake, playing out on the lawn, drinks in hand and SPF on our skin... come on summer!! At this point, I don't even care about Spring, I just want to feel that sun & heat!

My inspiration for posting came from DogVacay.com. This is an online site helping dog owners find a dog sitter/host/loving home while you are away. DogVacay's staff believes that our pets are our family and deserve the best care available. The company was founded by a husband & wife team and today DogVacay. com has grown into a community that stretches across the country. DogVacay links thousands of dog owners with safe and loving sitters. 

Now, don't get me wrong, you would surely bring your fur child with you ANYWHERE you go but let's face it- sometimes you just can't do that. You need SOMEONE/ANYONE trustworthy & responsible to please please pleaseeeee take care of your dog while you are gone!? Am I right?

DogVacay.com seems easy enough in that you enter your location (I am in Forest Lake) and a list of sources in your area will pop up. It's easy to book and the affordable rates are payable online. DogVacay.com offers you that peace of mind while you travel, and with daily photo updates you don't have to wonder and or worry so much about how puppy is doing or how they are feeling! Knowing that they are in good hands AND having fun allows you to enjoy your time away.

  [avrie checking out our new puppy!!! COMING SOON!]

 We are much too familiar with this and have had to deal with finding someone to watch Tiki on the weekends that we weren't able to bring her along. AND.... seeing that we will SOON be adding a puppy to our home (YUP... you read that right, we are getting a PUPPY!!! more on that another time, real soon) but anyway, we will be needing to find trusted doggy sitters, from time to time, as well.

If DogVacay.com interests you as much as it does me, I encourage you to check them out on online and also via facebook & Instagram @dogvacay... if anything, you'll have cute pictures of doggies popping up in your daily feed!

Time for you to share with me, what do YOU consider your "Home Away From Home"?