Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween!

Eric and I didn't actually dress up for Halloween this year, but through the magic of computers, we totally did! Costumes or no costumes, we've been having a great Halloween weekend so far and have more festive fun planned for today.

And, yes. The answer to the question burning in your mind is yes, Achilles does have a new costume this year. But, you'll just have to wait to see it. For now, you'll have to make do with his computer-generated costume below:

That dog is clearly ready for some trick-or-treating.

Happy Halloween from the W. Family!

P.S. This is my 400th post! Wow, I talk a lot.

Friday, October 29, 2010

My Five Minutes of Fame

This week I had yet another random NYC experience: I modeled a "last-minute DIY Halloween costume" on a local morning show!

I heard about this opportunity on, which I frequent. It all started back when I was planning my wedding, and relied hugely on to help plan my wedding. Because I was planning a Florida wedding from D.C., the vendor recommendations made by local FL girls were indispensable, and they did not steer me wrong. Our wedding was awesome. After the wedding, I made the move over to The Knot's sister site, The Nest, geared towards young newlyweds. I feel like a dork saying it, but I have made some friends on there and I do enjoy it.

Anyway. Early this week, there was a post on The Nest looking for New York area girls to model these last-minute do-it-yourself costume ideas for The Nest on Fox's Good Day New York. I didn't think much of it, but Eric really encouraged me to do it. I emailed the contact person just to see what would happen, and they responded and asked me to model for them. I was super nervous about it - talk about being out of my comfort zone! I mean, my sister is the morning show star, not me. But I thought it would be a cool opportunity to see how these shows work, and I've been trying to live my life with the philosophy of never turning down an opportunity to try something new. So, I went for it.

Wednesday I had to go down to The Knot's headquarters in SoHo for my costume fitting. They sent a car service to pick me up and bring me back home afterwards (fancy schmancy!). Let me tell you - seeing The Knot's offices was probably the coolest part for me. I have always thought it would be fun to work there, and seeing the office confirmed that for me. Everyone was about my age, all just sitting around working on wedding stuff all day. I love wedding stuff! I love going to weddings, planning weddings, watching weddings on TV, etc. I love planning and organization and creativity. I would LOVE it there. Now, I just need them to agree that I should work there...

Anyway. I had my costume fitting on Wednesday, and was informed I was going to be a member of the "tea party:" a group of three girls wearing t-shirts with Ts on them and carrying tea cups. Kind of lame, but whatever. Some of the other costumes included Mad Men, Snooki and the Situation (from Jersey Shore, of course), a bed bug and bed bug victim, and a road trip. I tried on my t-shirt then left with reporting instructions for the show.

Thursday morning they again sent a car service to pick me up and take me to the Fox Studios on the East side. We arrived by 8:00 a.m. for our 9:30 segment. When we got there, they sent us upstairs. We got off the elevator and walked down a long hallway, where all the various past celebrity guests had signed their names on the walls.

Some of the wall signatures in the hallway

We then spent some time in the green room, having breakfast and getting into costume. They also sent us down the hall for makeup touch-ups. So fun! Then we lined up and went into the studio to wait for our segment.

As we stood in the background, we could watch the hosts interview guests and cut to on-location reporters for other segments. It was cool to watch it all happening live. During a commercial break, they had us rehearse our segment once, then it was go time.

It all went pretty quickly. The Nest's lifestyles editor spoke with the hosts and all of us modeled our costumes. I had told my sister that I would be doing this, and she said I should do a pinky-up sip from my teacup as a "hello" to her, so I did! I was very nervous and felt super awkward, but it was over quickly. Thank goodness! I just don't think I'm cut out for live TV.

The "tea party" on the red carpet


Hi, Heather!

At the end of the segment, they had all the costume models come back out

After it was over, we changed out of our costumes and they arranged another car service to drive me back home. My driver that time was a very talkative woman who just went on and on about how beautiful I looked and how cool what I just did was, so that was a nice ego boost. Then I came home to watch myself on TV. Do you want to see me, too? I'm sharing this against my better judgment, so you better enjoy:

VIDEO: Our segment on Good Day New York

You can also read the accompanying article here.

All in all, it was definitely a cool experience, but I think I'll stick to watching TV as opposed to starring in it.

Thursday, October 28, 2010


Yesterday, the weather was dreary all day long. It finally started raining a bit in the late afternoon. Then, at about 6:00, suddenly the sun came out. It was very bright, and because I had just been outside in the rain moments before, I knew this had to mean a rainbow would be showing up somewhere. The last time I saw a rainbow over the city, it was so gorgeous. I've been dying to catch another.

 A sudden burst of sunshine over rainy New York

I ran over to the window, pulled the blinds all the way up, opened up the window and stuck my head out. Sure enough, there was a full rainbow to the northeast. I could see the complete arc - I'm not sure I've ever seen that before. It only lasted a few moments, but it was stunning.

This is two different pictures I took, but if you put them side by side it almost makes the whole skyline and full rainbow! This is what I saw from our window.

The rainbow extends over the Upper West Side

The arc over the Time Warner Center at Columbus Circle

If you want to see more (even better) photos of the rainbow taken by other New Yorkers, check out this one, this one and this one. In the last two photos, you can even see it as a double rainbow. Beautiful.

I just love rainbows. I love them not only because they're pretty, but because they're a sign of hope - hope for a future that is bright. Hope that the dark days will pass. Hope for a new start. Hope is something that is very important to me, because if you have hope, you can get through any obstacle you may face. All you need is hope, and you can persevere, and things will get better. That's an incredible thing.

Don't you just love rainbows?

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Eric's Weekend At Home

This past weekend, Eric went to Florida for a visit with his family. He had planned to go home for Toni's birthday at the beginning of the month, but postponed the trip for various reasons (that ended up being unnecessary, but what can you do?). From what I hear, he had a great time. Kelley took a couple days off work to spend time with him, he stayed with Gramz at her new house, and got to see Toni quite a bit. He got a good shuffleboarding lesson from Gramz, took Toni shopping at WalMart, saw Kelley's new house, met a baby, ate some good food, played some horseshoes, golfed with an old high school friend, saw a childhood friend's new house, and learned some lessons about family. All in all, he had a nice time.

And while doing all that, Eric also got some great pictures:

Eric and Gramz playing some shuffleboard

Eric and Gramz

Kelley and Susan preparing dinner for everybody

Family gathering at Kelley's house: Gramz (and her dog), Toni, Kelley, family friend Mrs. Smith and her daugher Leighanne, and Leighanne's baby Alexander
(and Susan is in the background there, too!)

Cute family photo!

The dog and the baby sharing a moment


Eric and his awesome mom

I think my ovaries just skipped a beat.

Playing horseshoes with Buzz

Kelley made a Meghan-on-a-Stick for the weekend! Here is the stick version of me hanging out with Toni

Love these two.

Thanks to everyone who made such an effort to spend time with Eric and show him such a nice time while he was in town. You guys are the best!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

October Sunset

Seeing a beautiful sunset sky over the Manhattan skyline is just something I never get tired of. I snapped these pretty pink photos last Wednesday and just had to share:

Looking southeast towards Times Square
Times Square and the Empire State Building

The Time Warner Center at Columbus Circle

Looking directly east


Saturday, October 23, 2010

Fun in Bloomington

So now you know how much fun Molly's bridal shower was, but Shower Day was only one part of a really awesome weekend. Molly and I always have such a great time when we get together, so why should last weekend be any different?

I left New York City on Thursday morning. Because Eric was in India, I dropped Achilles off at "camp" then took the bus out to LaGuardia to catch my flight. I arrived at the airport in plenty of time, even though there was quite a line at security.

Can we talk briefly about how all sense of personal space seems to go out the window in the airport security line? I just do not understand this. I don't understand why people seem to think that riding piggyback on my shoulders is going to get them through security any faster. This time, there was a woman and her teenage daughter behind me. They kept crowding out the man who was actually between us in line, complaining about how the other security line was moving so much faster, and walking into my suitcase. It was all I could do to keep from turning around and reminding them that this was not in fact a bumper cars ride, and could they please quit walking into my belongings? They were just the kind of personal-space-challenged people that when I would take another step forward to try to put some space between my bags and their feet, they would immediately move forward to fill the space, bumping into me again. Sigh.

Of course, probably the worst personal space offender I have experienced in the airport security line was on one of my other recent trips, also out of LaGuardia. This woman behind me was getting so close to me that I kept running over her foot with my rolling suitcase. Yes, she was so close to me that her foot kept getting between me and my luggage. People! Get your lives together.

Okay, vent over.

Sadly, there are no direct flights between NYC and Bloomington, IL, so I had layovers in Atlanta both ways. (Don't even get me started on how I hate layovers that are "out of the way." I understand hub airports and all that, but it just seems so inefficient.) I had about a 2-3 hour layover on the way there, but it passed quickly. Remarkably, all four of my flights over the course of the weekend arrived early! Has that ever happened before in the history of air travel?

I arrived in Bloomington around 5 p.m. (central time) and Molly was there to pick me up. We went to Buffalo Wild Wings for dinner and had a couple beers while we waited for Arturo to get off work and meet us. We did some chatting and catching up, and Molly gave me a gift to thank me for all my help with her wedding planning:

Molly and Arturo gave me an iPod Touch! Can you believe that? It's such a wonderful gift, and I've been having a great time playing with it. I was so touched (no pun intended) to receive this gift, and the beautiful "thank you" card that accompanied it. I love all things wedding-related, so emailing with Molly about things like chair bows or flowers or hairstyles or whatever for the past year has been just plain fun for me, no thanks required. I'm happy to help, Molly!

Arturo joined us a bit later for dinner, then we went back to their apartment for a bit. Molly has moved since I visited her last year, and their new place is awesome. It's so spacious (hello, roomy kitchen!) and even has a fireplace! I loved it.

We only had a little while to hang out at the apartment before we had to head back out to the airport to pick up Aunt Debbie at 11 p.m. We brought her back to the apartment and had some wine (of course) before calling it a night. Poor Molly had to get up early to work the next morning!

By the time Aunt Debbie and I woke up on Friday, Molly and Arturo were off to work. AD and I had some breakfast (and by "breakfast," I really mean "mimosas") and worked out a game plan for the day: we needed to hit the grocery store, party store, liquor store, and possibly Target. One thing I didn't mention about Molly's awesome apartment is that she lives within walking distance of a grocery store, Dairy Queen and Target. Talk about an awesome location! So, we were pretty set to get around for the day.

Heather-on-a-Stick and Zita-on-Chopsticks helping us with our mimosas on Friday morning

We made our shopping lists then got to work. We hit the grocery store first, then dragged all the groceries home on foot. The timing worked out perfectly that right as we got the groceries unloaded, Arturo was able to stop home on his lunch break to give us a ride to Party City and the liquor store. We got the rest of what we needed at those places, and got home just in time to unload everything before Molly arrived home for the day.

After having some lunch, Molly and I did some work on wedding-related projects while Aunt Debbie started on food prep in the kitchen. After a while, I abandoned poor Molly to help Aunt Debbie. (Don't worry, Molly had Glee Season 1 DVDs to keep her company!) We ended up being very glad we started prep Friday night because we had a couple disasters: my first batch of margarita cupcakes came out looking like little rocks instead of beautiful, fluffy cupcakes, and Molly's blender bit the dust while we were trying to get the margarita dip to set up. And by "bit the dust," I mean "the bottom detached from the rest of the blender," creating this mess:

This is not how you want your margarita dip to look, nor is this the ideal way to serve said dip.

Poor Molly was probably scared to death about what would be waiting for her at her shower, given that all she could hear was blending then screaming and shouting ("Oh no! It's everywhere! Arturo, we need trash bags!!!").

We did take a break from destroying Molly's kitchen appliances so I could give Molly and Arturo their wedding gift from Eric and me. I had ordered three vintage maps on Etsy: one of Bloomington, IL (where Molly and Arturo met), one of Barcelona (where they got engaged) and one of Zihuatanejo (where they will be married). Each city was outlined on the map with an embroidered heart. I put all the maps in a frame, and ta-da! I thought it turned out very well. They seemed to really like it, so I was pleased.

Molly and Arturo opening their gift

Yay! They like it!

We also took a break for a girls' night out at the movies, thanks to Molly! We saw Life As We Know It, starring Katherine Heigl and Josh Duhamel (who is uncomfortably good-looking, I decided). We thought it was very cute and it was a great break from the crazy kitchen fiascoes! After the movie we stopped by Walmart to pick up a new blender for Molly (I mean, we were throwing a margarita party the next day, and we had no blender!) and a new box of cake mix so I could try my margarita cupcakes once more. We did a little more prep before bed, then it was lights out to rest up for shower day.

On Saturday Aunt Debbie and I got right to work as soon as we woke up, and I recounted the outcome of our efforts in great detail in my last post. After the shower, we all had some chili and spent the night watching Glee and working on wedding projects. What a successful day!

Sunday we got our morning started with the most awesome breakfast ever: mixed fruit, mimosas, apple cider donuts and margarita cupcakes. I'm telling you, those cupcakes are so amazing. I mean, they're perfect for all times of the day, not just dessert! They even make great breakfast! In case you missed the recipe in my last post, click here and make these cupcakes immediately.

Mmm, breakfast.

Cheers to a fun weekend!

After breakfast, we got dressed and went out to run some errands. Then Molly treated us to lunch at Qdoba (my first Qdoba experience!), and then we drove out to Tanners Orchard for some fall fun. We had such a good time there last year, we wanted to go again!

 Tanners Orchard

 Welcome to Tanners!

When we arrived, the line for the store was super long so Aunt Debbie got in line for us while Molly and I wandered around. They had all sorts of pumpkin people, awesome goats, adorable bunnies, and a corn maze (that we did not go in, much to Eric's dismay). Fun times.

 Pumpkin man, with HOAS and ZOC

Tanners scenery

This goat is chewing on metal bars. Hence, I shall call him Achilles.

I want a bunny.

On a school bus with HOAS and ZOC

Cute little kid tractor ride thing going into the orchard

I have to say, all this fall farm festivity really seems to "fit" better in Illinois than it does in Queens, New York - somehow the backdrop of actual legitimate cornfields and wind generators just seems more authentic.

By the time Molly and I had checked everything out around the farm, Aunt Debbie was at the front of the line for the shop, so we joined her there. We got our free sample of apple cider (yum) then spent some time perusing the various goods in the store. We had some fun with Heather-on-a-Stick and Zita-on-Chopsticks, and came home with some goodies. I brought a half dozen apple cider donuts home to Eric, along with a couple little decor things including an adorable fall decoration (thanks to Aunt Debbie!) and a precious little Nativity figurine (my favorite type of Christmas decoration).

Apples for sale in the market

HOAS and ZOC hanging out in some gourds

We are family! I got all my sisters with me! (I'm singing. Does that translate?)

Perfect ornament for Heather!

ZOC hanging out with our national bird

Aunt Debbie and Molly admiring some fall decor

Beautiful mums

Heading back to the car after a fun outing!

On the way home from Tanners, we made a much-anticipated stop at Dairy Queen. You see, I live in a Dairy-Queen-less area, which is a travesty in and of itself. Add to that fact that I have certain friends on Facebook and Twitter who go on and on about how awesome Dairy Queen's Pumpkin Pie Blizzard is, I have been dying to try one but have been unable to do so. Molly was kind enough to stop and treat for three mini Blizzards on our way home, which was AWESOME. And the Pumpkin Pie did not disappoint - very tasty! Ah, I got my DQ fix. Between that and the pretty sunset sky out the window, the trip back to Bloomington was very enjoyable.


Gorgeous sunset

Midwestern sky

When we got home, Molly and I did a trial run of her wedding day hair and watched more Glee, then it was time for bed. Monday morning we left very early to catch our 6:45 a.m. flights out of Bloomington, and that was that! I was back in New York in time to have lunch with Eric.

Thanks, Molly, for a wonderful weekend! It was a great time, as always. Can't wait for more good times in Mexico!