I have always been a HUGE fan of the theater.  Musicals, plays, the ballet... if you put a ticket in my hand I can guarantee that I'll be in my seat, loving every second of the show.  I feel pretty lucky to have been able to see live a handful of the more popular shows in recent years, and they're fabulous memories across the board.

My very first show was 42nd Street.  

I was young, somewhere around middle school age, and I probably didn't appreciate the experience as much as I should have (it was ON BROADWAY, not a traveling show, which to me just makes a show LEGIT) .  My younger brother Clint and I went with an aunt, uncle and a cousin from Connecticut.  I remember thinking "That was a lot of singing and dancing," and "Is this ever going to end?," and "I'm tired."  Ah, the ignorance of youth.

Show #2 was also seen on a summer trip to Connecticut.  We went with the same aunt and cousin, as well as my aunt's sister.  I was a freshman in high school and completely convinced that I was going to move to New York when I graduated, go to NYU and become the Next Big Thing in publishing.  We saw Mamma Mia! at Winter Garden Theater on Broadway and it changed. my. life.  I was convinced that if Broadway theater made my heart as happy as it did, that I was destined to move to NYC and make it-- if I could make it there, I could make it ANYwhere (I know... I know).

I vividly remember the entire theater being out of their seats, dancing in the aisles and singing along with the show.  It was so, so much fun and I cried when it was over.  Not an ugly cry or anything, but there was definitely emotion, and if I had to pinpoint that feeling I would say that I was straight-up sad that it was over.  After buying my show t-shirt for $32 (still have it), I left thinking that I was of course destined to be a performer on Broadway, regardless of the fact that I'd never taken any sort of professional dance, acting or voice lessons-- I was a triple NON-threat.  That little dream obviously faded, but after that show, I was HOOKED.

Once Brian and I started dating, I became determined to see The Nutcracker here in Boston.  The ballet comes to the Boston Opera House every Christmas, so for at least two of my birthdays, I've convinced him that it's just not Christmastime without seeing the Sugarplum Fairies.

I know that I'm alone in this one, but I would go every single year to see it if I could.  I love getting all dressed up and seeing moms and their little ones there together, decked out in their holiday reds and velvet to see the show.  Babies are a little ways off for me yet, but I vow that if I'm ever blessed with a little girl, seeing The Nutcracker together every Christmas will become our tradition.

Having always loved The Big Apple, I've always ALWAYS loved The Rockettes.  It's just not Thanksgiving unless I see them high kicking away in their heels at the Macy's Parade.  I'm pretty positive I also entertained the idea of becoming a Rockette, especially after being on the dance team in high school.  If I could high kick on a football field for 3 minutes, I could surely do the same on a stage... for an hour.  

I digress.  When The Rockettes Christmas Spectacular toured to Boston last winter, it became my life's goal to see them.  Brian made it happen for me, and it was amazing.  Truly.  The girls are so talented and pretty and enviable LEGS FOR DAYS... but it was TWO hours.  Of kicking.  And tap dancing.  And shuffle-stepping.  

We went for my birthday in early December so it certainly got me into the jazzy Christmas spirit... but I'll likely never, ever see them again.  Two hours of two-tapping is a lot to take in.

Knowing I had struck out with my last two shows being not all that guy-friendly, when In the Heights toured to Boston, I knew that we had to go.  

I gave Brian the heads up that it was indeed a musical, but that there would be dancing and guys fighting and it was based in Harlem (I think), modern day.  We bought tickets, we went... and he LOVED it.  The soundtrack and stage decorations were both phenomenal and the cast was just so sassy-- just a genuinely well done show.

All of this brings me to last night.  I have a running list in my head of Broadway Shows to See, including but not limited to Newsies, The Book of Mormon, The Lion King... and Wicked.

Be still, my Wizard of Oz loving heart, because I can mark the last one off of my list!

Wicked has toured in Boston a few times since I've lived here, but we've just never made it a point to go.  When I found out the show was not only coming back this summer but opening a mere DAY after our anniversary, I knew it was meant. to. be.

After a quick stop for dinner, we settled in for two and a half hours of one of the best performances I have ever seen.  I laughed.  I clapped and cheered.  I teared up.  I gave a standing ovation at the end.  It was so excellently well done, and I would go again tonight if I could.  I can't lie-- Wicked remains on my list of shows to see ON Broadway, but not for the sake of quality.  I can't imagine it being executed any better, there's just something about seeing shows in NYC that make them feel that much more "real."  

Until then, I'll keep loving the fact that I found a guy who'll put on a brave face and sit through musicals with me, secretly loving them as much as I do.

Unofficial disclaimer: All pics, excluding the last three, are from The Google and are NOT mine. 

At least it's Tuesday...

Yes, today is Tuesday but nothing exciting or blog-worthy happened yesterday, unless you consider my going home, changing into yoga pants and watching Crazy, Stupid, Love for the umpteenth time with a glass of wine while Brian was at softball "exciting."  

After five long weeks of being busybusybusy every weekend, I was finally able to enjoy two entire days of NOTHING... and it was DI-VINE. 

Saturday morning kicked off at 4:30am when I woke up for my pre-long run breakfast.  Did I mention that I'm training for the NYC marathon again?  I am.  Did I mention that I'm hating every second?  No?  Oh, well... I am.  And I can honestly say that the novelty of waking up at  4:30am to eat breakfast has SO worn off.

I do not work out well on a full stomach, but if I don't eat ANYTHING before a long run, my energy deflates real fast.  So, peanut butter and banana on wheat two hours before I run it is.  My training schedule said 8 miles so I hit the dreadmill and (kind of) knocked it out.  My shins were flaring up last week and the last thing I needed was to run 4 miles away from the apartment and then realize I wouldn't be able to make it back home, so I played it safe.  AWFUL.  Hated it.  Watched the seconds tick by.  And THAT is why all long runs going forward will happen outside.

Regardless, I survived and was glad to be done with running for the weekend.  Next weekend is 10 miles, my first double digit run of the year.  Cue the ice bath and wine!

I managed to shower, throw on an outfit (if you can call it that-- we're talking Tempos and my brand spankin' new home. tee, which I'm LOVING.  Also? That's not me.  I could never pull off a pink lip like that but would kill for her arms) and make it to the nail salon by 9:30-- whoop!  

Since I was there so early, I thought I would be in and out in an hour, tops-- the spot I go to usually does a great job but are speedy, which is important to me because WHO has time to sit in a nail chair for hours on a Saturday?  Not me.  A one hour manicure and one hour pedicure later, I was finally on my way out the door.  I admired my gorgey nails for approximately four hours before three nails on my right hand chipped and now the top edge is wearing off on my left hand.  As the girl was doing my nails, she kept watering down the polish (even after I asked if they maybe had a spare bottle, or if I should change colors), so I'm going to guess that the polish was weakened and is just chip-chip-chipping away.

Sidenote: tell me ladies, is a gel/shellac mani worth the $$?  Because I'm thinking I'd rather pay extra for one mani to last 3 weeks, versus 2-3 manis over a month.  And yes-- I do my nails at home on occasion, but sometimes there's just nothing better than a fresh mani done by someone else.

Brian was off running boy errands so I spent the afternoon catching up on all of my Real Housewives, lounging on the couch, and eating a lunch consisting of Triscuits, cheese, and grapes.  Like I said-- DI-VINE.  Knowing that we were going out for date night, I poured a little dressing drink and got ready.  Two hours later, completely ready with big hair and a complete outfit, I realized I may have started a little early considering that Brian wasn't yet home.  So I did what any sane girl would do:

Settled on the couch with my wine, fresh mani, and Marky Mark.  It was such good one-on-one time with myself, and I swear that just having that afternoon to decompress left me in such a good mood for the rest of the weekend.  I have zero pictures of actual date night, but it was fun and so very needed.

Sunday I slept until 9 (this is HUGE for me), sent Brian out for coffee and whipped up a little breakfast.  I've been craving huevos rancheros like nobody's business and could basically eat eggs with refried beans every single morning, so adding a little corn tortilla and avocado just sealed the deal that much more.

The rest of the day was spent doing laundry for the week, changing sheets, straightening up-- the usual.  I had a pot of bolognese sauce simmering away on the stove, and with a clean apartment and my favorite candles burning, I could not have been happier.  Oh wait, yes I could:

We watched Wally White from bed and then I promptly fell asleep at 10:15-- party people!!  

All in all, the weekend was just what we both needed to just relax and reboot.  And now for the important question-- is it Friday yet?

five on friday

Happy Friday lovelies!!  Today I'm joining some of my fav bloggin' ladies for the weekly Five on Friday link-up.  I'm thinking it will be a great way to share my own blog while finding fabulous new blogs out there as well-- super exciting!

This southern girl has invested in a new curling iron.  After reading lots of reviews, scouring blog hair tutorials to see what equipment those gals are using, and consulting the Beauty Bibles (namely InStyle), I settled on a Hot Tools 1 1/4 inch iron.  
I may or not be tracking this delivery like it's my J-O-B and cannot wait to try it out tomorrow night (date night, whoop whoop!).  

Sidenote: Living in Boston, I feel like big hair is something that I must maintain in honor of all southern girls living north of the Mason-Dixon line.  This past weekend we were with friends and everyone was getting ready to go out.  Armed with my teasing comb and hair spray, I set to work on my hair.  The MA ladies were joking about the amount of hair spray I was using, to which I responded "Girls, you've got to tease it to Jesus!" 
"Tease it to please him?" 
"No... to Jesus.  You know-- the bigger the hair, the closer to God?" 
Blank stares.
Our southern hair chatter is apparently a thing these Yanks will just never understand.

Come this Labor Day weekend, I will be HOME SWEET HOME!

Since I've only been at my new job for a month, I was worried that I wouldn't be able to go home this summer at all, and that was just TOO MUCH for this girl to handle.  So I chatted with my manager and agreed on me taking a long Labor Day weekend holiday!  I cannot wait!!  I haven't been home since LAST Christmas and won't go home again until THIS Christmas, so this is a much-needed little trip home.  It'll be just me-- I love going home with Brian, but some one-on-one time with the family and girlfriends is just needed sometimes!  Queso, HEB and Chick-fil-A, here I come!

Two words: DATE. NIGHT.  We have been busy for the past FIVE weekends and it is high time for a date night with my man.  Saturdays are always our nights, and unless plans come up with friends, we keep that reserved as our date night.  Six years since our first date and I'm still every bit the believer that it is muy importante to take that time for each other.  Depending on the week, I'll either cook a nicer dinner than a typical weeknight meal, we try a new spot for take-out, or we go out.  I like a good wine-on-the-couch night together as much as anyone else, but sometimes you just need to get all dressed up and hit the town, which is our plan for tomorrow, particularly since it's our big night out to celebrate The Big Six!  

I'm already picturing it, and the picture is fabulous-- getting ready with my dressing drink (or, you know, a good glass of wine) while I curl my hairs with my new curling iron, then heading out with my handsome honey-- perfection!

Since we've been so non-stop busy, I haven't had time for a good mani/pedi in weeks, so I have allotted a full two hours of Just Me Time tomorrow morning to remedy this situation.  'Tis shameful, especially if you were to see the shape that my nails are in right now.  I plan to have myself waiting in the parking lot when they open at 9am so I can get first pick of the polishes!  

Is it just me, or does it drive you nuts when you go to a salon midday and approximately 72% of the bottles are at the various nail stations, so you have to act all stealthy and eye the bottles as you walk past to see if there are colors you can swap out with the one you settled on?  Drives me crazy!

Summer is always one of my favorite times due to all of the little farmers markets that pop up in my area.  Seriously-- I come home with mammoth tomatoes, zucchini, fresh cheese and bread... I could go on for days.  A lot of our dinners have started to revolve around what beauties I pick up over the weekends, which I just love.  Early in the summer, I found myself with three enormous zucchini and we were both craving a light but filling pasta dish, so I got to Googling and searching my fav foodie blogs for a solution.  Enter our summer obsession: Crispy Gnocchi with Zucchini, Sweet Corn and Basil from the lovely Kristin at Iowa Girl Eats.

Seriously, drop everything that you're doing, get these ingredients in your kitchen, and make this dish happen.  I've made it for dinner guests, gave the recipe for a bridal shower recipe book... I could not possibly rave about it any more.  The dish comes together super quick, it makes more than enough for leftovers, and it's just so fresh and delish!  We either have it as a main dish or as a side with grilled chicken-- either way, you cannot go wrong.  And I honestly don't think that you can mess it up.  If you try it out, let me know if you love it as much as we have!  Kudos to you, Kristin!

Cheers to the weekend! 

Six Years.

Six years ago today I went on the best first date of my life, and I never looked back.  Six years I've had the pleasure of spending with my very best friend, my confidant, the love of my life, and I haven't stopped laughing and loving since.

I'll honestly never forget trying to fall asleep the night of August 5, 2007.  I had just moved to Boston to my un-air conditioned apartment (window unit or not, it wasn't central AC and this Texan couldn't deal) and was having panic attacks at the thought of having to wake up and get ready for The Big Date in a humid, hot apartment, arriving perfectly glowy in the August heat.  

So I did what any normal girl who's really, really excited for a first date and knows the importance of good hair does... I booked a hotel room so I could get ready the next morning in frosty, air-conditioned comfort.  Obviously.

After justifying the cost of the Hilton Back Bay as an expense that would only contribute to happy times in Boston, I checked in, laid out my outfit, and got ready for the next day (OR contemplated all potential positives and negatives of the next day because OF COURSE).  

The morning of August 6th finally came, and I'm pretty positive I was awake with the sun, was fully ready a good two hours before I needed to be.  

When I stepped off of the train at Government Center and saw Brian walking towards me with the best smile on his face, I was done. finito. a goner.  That spark was there and it was phenomenal.  We spent the day touring Boston (remember, I was a newbie to town), walking to the Museum of Science and ending up at Long Wharf, where the next three hours flew by as we talked and talked... and talked (we both considered it a good sign that we couldn't seem to stop the conversation).  We said goodnight, made plans to see each other the next day, and he put me on the train as he headed to catch the commuter boat home.

I distinctly remember feeling at that point that this was going to be my last first date... and that made my heart smile.

Three weeks later, Brian left to study abroad in Australia for a semester while I hit the books at Northeastern.  It was tough.  Not only was I adjusting to living across the country from my people, but I was now in a new relationship with someone across the world.  

He came home at Christmas, we spent time together over the break, and then he was off to his own college in upstate New York... five hours away.  We spent the next 2 1/2 years dating long distance, shuttling back and forth between Boston and The Tundra in his Jeep and on the Greyhound (and if I never ride a Greyhound again, I'll die a happy, clean, germophobic girl).  It was tough, and there were definitely times where it sucked and we wanted to throw in the towel, but at the end of the day we talked through our issues and calmed down from fights, and knew that it would be worth it in the end to stick it out with each other.  

In retrospect, I think those years apart only made us stronger as a couple.  We had to trust, understand, compromise, and unconditionally love each other or we weren't going to make it.  It helped us to truly respect each other as individuals, as well as realize how important it was to the both of us to be together and to work at our relationship when the going got tough, instead of just giving up.

And in the long run, it was so worth it. 

He has seen me at my highest highs and my lowest lows.  

No one has ever made me laugh harder in all of my life, like tears rolling down my cheeks laughter. 

We drive each other crazy sometimes, but how boring would a relationship be if everything was perfection?  Six years together have given us the chance to know that sometimes you just have to agree to disagree, that you're two different people with two different personalities, feelings, emotions, opinions, and that you love each other for who you are.  He makes me think outside of the box, and I value that so, so much.  

He loves my family like they're his own.  When my Daddy chose our first trip home to Texas to show him his gun collection, he never let my dad see him sweat.  He loves Orange Crush like my Mama and knows how much good manners, not swearing, and protecting her baby mean to her.

He can talk football and video games all day long with my brother, and it makes my heart happy to see them watching the game over beers when they're together.

He supports me endlessly, even when I'm ragey and emotional and come home angry because somebody looked at me wrong on the train or my favorite pen ran out ink.

He knows that I have my own brand of crazy, just like all girls do, and that sometimes he just needs to turn a blind eye to it and look the other way while I take a breather by myself and all will be well again.

He taught me the value of a hard-earned dollar and that while a new bag may look fabulous for awhile, that credit card bill never will.  I consider him my own little financial analyst/personal accountant, and he's guided me to be smart with my money and to get spending under control.  Annoying at the time; likely a God-send later down the road.

He is the best uncle that our Littles could ever have, and it warms my heart to see him with them.  Is there anything better than seeing the guy that you love play with babies?  I don't think so.

Years ago when I wrote in my little diary about the kind of man I would want to spend the rest of my life with, there was a list (quite the list; I am the Queen of Lists) of what he would  have to be like:

handsome, funny, smart, ambitious, loves sports, can talk sports with my Daddy, supportive, successful, loves my family, loves his family, will be a great dad someday, wants to travel, remembers the important days, will always love me and tell me I look pretty (even when I don't), will take care of me when I'm sick, loves holidays, lets me decorate however I want to... the list went on and on and on.  

I feel like I'm a pretty lucky girl to be able to say that at the end of the day, Brian fulfills every little part of that list and so much more.  I am endlessly happy and love the thought of a forever with him. 

  Happy Anniversary, BGK!  Love you so much.