Four Days

I have a feeling my dear friend Ashley is going to have a hard time blogging for the next couple weeks.  Why?  Because she is getting married on Sunday!!  The week before you get married is always filled with little details, minor freakouts, dress fittings, honeymoon planning, and barely enough time to sleep.  Ashley has been busy with making so many things for her wedding by hand, I give her some major props!  This week, she has already accomplished many last minute crafts and I'm sure has a few more to do.

Today is Wednesday, in two days she'll be on the road to Ames.  Time to pick up that wedding dress and let the chaos begin.  Now, I feel I have a right to call it chaos, because I have been there before.  However, I don't mean chaos in a negative way, it's just all a whirlwind from the moment you pick up your dress!  We have a nail appointment, rehearsals, dinners, hair, decorating, pictures, and all of the actual wedding events.  It's all so exciting, it all happens so fast, but the memories are priceless.

So Ashley, if you get a chance to even take two minutes to read this blog post today, ENJOY. EVERY. MOMENT.  Don't get too consumed by the little details that you forget the big picture.  All of us will be there to celebrate you and Andrew getting hitched and none of us will notice if one table is missing a flower.  I couldn't be more happy to witness your marriage and participate in all the steps along the way.  I have known you from the beginning of your relationship with Andrew and I have witnessed how goofy, serious, sweet, harsh, caring, and most of all loving you both have been to each other over the last few years.  With every negative moment came a bigger gesture of love and a deeper understanding of each other.  So take a deep breath, look at Andrew, and let out a big sigh because you will feel comforted in knowing that when this is all over, you will be married to him, your husband.  And you will be his wife.  His silly, caring, organized, sexy, smart, and loving wife!

Yup, that was dripping with sugar, but I think it's the kind of reminder you need right now on top of the florist confirmations and the final seating charts.  Of course, call me if you need anything and I will see you on Friday! **You'll notice I willingly called him Andrew for this post** =)

Day 2 - Desk

Our desk is one of those multipurpose areas, since we don't really need a desk to work out of and we don't use our computer on it.  It is home to my music, old school stuff that may need to be referenced to apply for jobs, random papers we don't want to through away, and a random collection of many other things.  It had sort of become a dumping ground for things we weren't sure what to do with.
Well, it still needs to serve as that multipurpose area, because we have nowhere else to store those things, but I did go through and rearrange, refile, and throw away or put away many things that didn't belong.  It looks a lot better now!
YAY cleaning! Now on to the next thing...the Tupperware cabinet, which may turn into a couple of cabinets because I think our Tupperware cabinet is quite alright! :)


Emily's Bachelorette Party Recap

I know this is a little late, but better late than never! I know you all want to hear about how totally awesome Emily's party was!  Two weeks ago today, I headed up to Des Moines with Ashley J to the Hotel Fort Des Moines.  We're pretty sure this old hotel is haunted, but that's besides the point.  The hotel is in a great location downtown, so once we stepped out of our car, we didn't have to drive anywhere again for the rest of the weekend.
When we arrived at the hotel, we met the other girls up in the room and just socialized, drank some wine and champagne, played a game, and ate some snacks!  Friday was definitely a chill night because Saturday was going to be a very busy day!
Saturday morning we headed down to the Farmer's Market.  If you have never been to the Des Moines Farmer's Market, you are totally missing out.  It is better than any I have been too so far.  After perusing and munching on free samples, we went to Raccoon River Brewery for lunch.  I had this Thai chicken salad that was to die for!  Sadly, I still had not busted out my camera at this point, so unfortunately you can't see it's awesomeness.  When we got back to the hotel, we started getting ready for evening/night out and played some games and read Emily some true or false questions about the Iowa State Fair.  For each wrong answer, she had a dare she had to complete while we were at the fair! I'll explain a few later.

Once we were all ready to go, it was off to the Iowa State Fair!!  This has to be the best place to have your bachelorette party, besides the $7 beers!  We had such a great time getting some free samples, some delicious fair food and tattoos!

While out at the fair or the bars that night, Emily was given a few dares to do.  For example, she had to have a guy call Nick to leave him a voicemail telling him how lucky he was.  So we grabbed the guy who gave us our unicorn tattoos.  Unfortunately, Nick answered and it turned into an awkward conversation, but it was great because the guy was really nice and sweet!  After the fair, we took the bus back downtown!
cold on the bus

There are some more pictures from the night, but I'm not going to post them! :) Let's just say we had a lot of fun dancing and drinking and we all became a sweaty, hot mess.  We got back to the hotel, munched some more, laughed at some Marcel the Shell, and finally went to bed.  In the morning, we grabbed some Panera, coffee was needed, before leaving Des Moines after a fabulous and fun weekend celebrating Emily, a wonderful friend and soon to be bride!


Day 1 - Junk Drawer

So we do have a "junk" drawer...but I must say we keep it pretty well organized.
So besides a little cleaning out of trash and unneeded items, this drawer was good to go.  However, we have a "junk" box on our counter.  It was originally going to be used for mail organization and it became a place to put all random crap we couldn't find a place for.  And then it overflowed to the counter and blech, it was just a mess.

It's so convenient to just throw stuff down when you walk in the door and then just forget about it!  Not allowed anymore!  I put things where they belonged and threw away soo many expired coupons and a lot junk mail. It looks a heck of a lot better now :)

I think I'm going to like the satisfaction I get crossing things off of this organizing list.

Side note: We got our surround sound hooked up tonight!! Exciting!!

Organize My Life

All because Ashley M told me about this amazing website called Pinterest, I discovered this 21 Day Organizing Challenge from A Bowl Full of Lemons.  The rules are that you organize something in your house, every day (except Sundays) for 21 days.  The list she provided on her blog is slightly different than mine, but that's only slightly and only because some of the things on her list just didn't apply to my life and my house.
Here is my 21 day list:

  1. Junk Drawer
  2. Desk
  3. Tupperware cabinet
  4. LInen Closet
  5. Under kitchen sink
  6. Dresser drawers
  7. Pantry/food cabinets
  8. Coat room/closet
  9. Sewing/music room
  10. Laundry room
  11. The freezer
  12. Spice drawer
  13. Medicine cabinet
  14. Bathroom shelves
  15. Kitchen counters
  16. The fridge
  17. The mail & Random papers
  18. Keepsakes
  19. Bedroom closets
  20. Photos
  21. Bookcase
My goal/plan is to try to keep up with this daily as well as blog my before and after pics!  Gosh I hope this helps create some much needed order in my life as well as a more settled place to live, after 8 months! Lol.  Wish me luck and join in if you're interest! Happy Organizing! =)


The final day of RAGBRAI took us from Coralville to Davenport, home sweet home.  The stats: 65.6 miles and 2,363 feet to climb.  We agreed to try to get on the road by 6:00 because it had been getting so hot so quickly and its much easier when the sun is low.  But alas, despite our efforts, we didn't get going until 6:45.  Part of this was because I was still getting the shooting pains, but not as severe.  I tried to see the First Aid station, but they were not opening until 7:00, so I manned up and we left around 6:30.  We road through town in Coralville and into Iowa City.  First thing we hit, hills!  If you've ever walked around Iowa City, it's pretty hilly.  Well just to get out of the dang town, we had to go up some pretty massive, steep hills...and oh yes, we conquered them!

Team Teehee :)
From Iowa City, it was about 10 miles on to West Branch!  There were a couple of hills, but nothing too major.  We were still feeling great at that point because it was not hot yet.  We totally decided next year that it need to be REQUIRED that we leave at 6:00am, no later!  We need 2-2.5 hours before we can start feeling the heat of the sun.  West Branch is a cute little town, if you've never been there, it's home to the Herbert Hoover's childhood house and presidential library.  We decided to keep trucking through after a brief stop rather than visiting the memorials since we had all seen them before.
From West Branch, it was only 4.5 miles to Springdale..we bought some super cheap bake sale cookies at the local church and filled up our bottles and kept on pedaling.  It was 13.8 miles from there to Moscow, and it was the LONGEST ride of the whole trip!  It started getting REALLY hot and we were all separated and it was hilly!  I kept thinking, "When I get to the top of the next hill, I'll see Moscow..." I finally did stop to reapply sunscreen because it was getting crazy hot and I felt like my skin was boiling.  At that point, Laura met up with me as well and we rode into Moscow together.  From Moscow, we met up with Brooke, refilled our water and decided to eat lunch in Wilton, only another 5.6 miles away!  In Wilton, we had the most fun!  They had a petting zoo set-up which was so therapeutic :)
What?! How cute is this bunny??

We ate some lunch, and watched some martial arts performers as well before leaving Wilton.  We finally had to suck it up and keep going, even though it would have been nice to quit right then and there!! IT WAS SO HOT even just standing in the sun.  It was at this point, my bike thermometer was reading about 120 degrees in the direct sun.  From Wilton, we rode onto to Durant, 6 miles away and it was such a friendly little town.  We rested a little and then decided to go on to the last town before Davenport.  Walcott was nearly 8 miles from Durant and it was about 1:00, so hot hot HOT!  At this point, no lies, RAGBRAI was not fun anymore, it was a punishment.  But it was also a challenge and we were determined to finish the day.  We split off from Brooke in Walcott, since she was waiting for her Dad to catch up.  Brooke and her Dad were going to ride down to the river while Laura and I were going to catch the bike path in Davenport and ride straight back to my house.  Of course, we took one last picture before splitting off!
The ride from Walcott to Davenport was not very hilly, but boy was it punishing being dead flat, with no breeze, and killer sun!  Laura and I took our time, making sure to stop for water breaks and more sunscreen and we even took one break in the shade where we got to meet some really nice people who assured us it was just over that hill and we'd be crossing I-280 into Davenport.  It was true, we were so close!  We got back on and pushed through.   Once we crossed into Davenport, it almost felt like we were done, but then I remembered that even once we get to the bike path about 1.5miles up the road, it's still another 7 miles to my house.  At this point, I ran into the only three people I knew riding RAGBRAI, who were not even riding together.  How weird is that?! I saw my coworkers husband, who was just waiting up for a couple of people because they were also taking the bike path home.  Then I saw Kate and her husband!  I student taught at Ames High in the English department at the same time as Kate, but hadn't seen her since because she's been living in Korea.  WEIRD!  Anyway, we got to the bike path, took one final "Almost there" picture, enjoyed the shaded and mostly flat bike path home.

Of course, we ate fudgecicles when we got home and then showered ASAP!  What a relief to be home and what an accomplishment to have ridden 70.2 miles that day!  As much as we were hating it, and I probably did a horrible job making RAGBRAI sound fun...we can't wait to do it again next year, and probably the whole week this time!  That night, we went down to the Bix/Ragbrai festival, and I must say, we clean up pretty well :)



We woke our sore butts up at 6:00 to eat our usual breakfast of bagels w/ nutella and a banana!  Again, we attempted to leave by 7:00, got on the road by 7:22.  The ride was from Grinnell to Coralville, 74.9 miles and 2,681 feet to climb.  I figured, it's not as hilly because the day before was 20 less miles and almost 600 more feet to climb.  And it's true, we did have many more flat miles this day.

We started off the day pedaling to Brooklyn, which was 14.5 miles away.  Luckily, it was still pretty early and didn't feel too hot yet.  It was college spirit day, so I wore my ISU basketball jersey, which proved to be like a greenhouse, letting all kinds of heat in, but not letting any out!  Never, NEVER will I wear that biking again!  But anyway, we got to Brooklyn which is this cute little town with a TON of American flags; it's what they're known for I guess.  It was also a very Christian town, handing out salvation bracelets and the band was playing Christian music.  It was no big deal, but it wasn't exactly the motivator we were needing that day! 
This guy rode this crazy bike EVERY day of RAGBRAI
Brooklyn, IA
It was only about 9:00 in the morning, not even, and the sun was already getting very hot. The next town, Victor, was 8.2 miles away, so we pushed on to it.  When we got to Victor, my tummy was sending me mixed signals because I didn't feel very good when I woke up, so I didn't eat much of my breakfast, but now I was actually hungry, I think.  So I got a brat in Victor, and Laura enjoyed a Bloody Mary, both were delicious!  We enjoyed our small break in the shade, applied more sunscreen and then headed another 7 miles to Ladora.

It was a flat and I mean FLAT ride to Ladora, which was a super nice break from the hills.  However, with absolutely no shade, the sun was punishing and my tummy couldn't decide if it needed more food or needed to let it out.  On top of that, Laura's poor knee was giving her all kinds of pain.  It was nice Ladora wasn't too far away so we could take another rest and another sunscreen application break!  While in Ladora, we all ate some maid rites, sat in the shade, markered up some peoples legs :) and Brooke made a new friend! A dog of course, lol.

At this point, we evaluated our desire to push through the day, because it was super hot, we were all worried about pushing to hard and not being able to do our 3rd day which was more important to us.  With my stupid stomach and Laura's stupid knee, we decided to push to the next town, Marengo, which was another 7 mile, flat ride away.
When we got to Marengo, the heat had really started to affect us.  My bike computer was reading a heat index of 120 degrees in the direct sun, which is what we were ALWAYS in.  We all talked about it and agreed that we're in this together, is someones hurting, we're sticking with that person.  We also all agreed that we're on vacation and punishing ourselves to the point of exhaustion is not what we're looking for.  We decided it was more important to all of us to save our energy so we can ride the whole day into Davenport the next day, so we took the SAG wagon back to Coralville.
Stupid knee, stupid tummy
Ah well, we tried our best! :)
Brooke was falling asleep on the SAG wagon
We got to Coralville around 3:00, grabbed our stuff and headed for the pool! We went swimming, which was great on our muscles, and showered at the pool.  I was still getting these strange shooting pains in what seemed to be my kidneys, so I took it easy for dinner. After having a light pasta salad and an ear of corn, I was feeling better.  We all walked to this bar and enjoyed some drinky poos.  Laura, Jason, and Ryan wanted to go out in Iowa City, Brooke and I wanted to SLEEP. So we split up.  Brooke and I grabbed some ice cream at Dairy Queen and then walked back to our tents and passed out.
I can't say this was my favorite day of the trip, but I will say it could have been a heck of a lot worse if we had tried to push through and Laura's knee failed her, or we got heat exhaustion, or I did actually end up getting sick.  In the ended, we listened to our bodies, took the break we needed and enjoyed our vacation like we originally intended to!  Plus, we got amped up for the final day, which I will write about in my next post!

SIDE NOTE: Why oh WHY did I not have two water bottle holders installed on my bike?! Dumb dumb dumb...it's on the RAGBRAI 2012 must-have list.



One week ago today, I was waking up after my second RAGBRAI experience.  For those of you who don't know what RAGBRAI is (and who would that be I don't know, haha), it is a week long bicycle ride across Iowa!  Due to so many weddings this year and lack of vacation time to use, I only signed up for the last three days of RAGBRAI, pedaling from Altoona to Davenport.  My friends Brooke and Laura joined me on this trip, while Ryan and Laura's boyfriend, Jason, drove the vehicle to each overnight town.  Oh my goodness, it was such a great experience and we are already ready for next year!  

We arrived in Altoona Wednesday evening to set-up camp, eat some dinner, and get all settled-in and ready for the next day, our first day riding.  We got a pretty good camp site and when Laura and Jason got there, we got really excited.  However, it was SOO hot that night, it was hard to sleep.  Brooke and I sat up in our tent at 2:30am and watched the heat lightening.  OK, anyway, we fell back asleep and woke up at 5:30am to begin Day 1!

Day 1 Highlights
Despite our best efforts to get on the road by 7am, it was probably more like 7:45 when we finally got a start on our first day.  Altoona to Grinnell, 57.5 miles and 3,202 feet to climb.  It was a freakin' hilly route!  We started out the whole ride, all on the same page about this being vacation and making sure we actually enjoyed what we were doing.  We wanted to experience things, meet people, and have a great time!  So naturally, about 3 miles out of Altoona, there is a big sign asking us to wish Owen a Happy 80th Birthday, so we pull over, meet Owen and get a picture with him =)
As we continue on our day, we swung through Mitchelville, Colfax, and Baxter.  There was this massive hill to get out of Colfax, which dampened our spirits a little bit, haha...but as we got closer to Baxter, we saw people taking this bike path off to the ride of the normal route, which as we looked ahead, was just this huge hill.  We saw some volunteers who said the path would take us to Baxter and that it's not so much a "short-cut" as it is a "flat-cut"...SOLD!  We took this "flat" cut into Baxter which ended up being like 2 miles longer and pretty steady incline the whole way.  The worst part about it, we missed the giant slip and slide by not being on the route!  Moral of the story, stick to the route, the "short-cuts" aren't worth it!

Veering off onto the bike path, away from the road route
We spent a little time in Baxter, because it was then 21 miles to the next stop, which was Rock Creek State Park.  THIS WAS SO DIFFICULT! So many hills, and not many places to stop.  We did stop at the PB Jam, where I had the BEST Peanut Butter & Jelly sandwich of my life!  Jif Creamy PB, Grape Jelly, Marshmallow Fluff, Chocolate Chips, and Bananas; it was heaven!  After passing at least 10 signs saying, "Only 3 more hills" or "This is the last hill," all of which were total B.S. because 3 hills later, there would be another "Only 3 more hills" sign, we finally made it to Grinnell!  We were totally beat, but had such a great day.

That night, we found some food, watched some crazy jugglers, and hit the sack pretty early and slept pretty hard!  We had to amp up for Day 2, Grinnell to Coralville.  To be continued...