the wedding of the century

My bestest pally Lydia got married! It was a blast. When your best friend gets married, at least in my experience, it is so so confusing and so so amazing at the same time. I kept looking over and being like “I am at a wedding! There is a beautiful bride in a wedding dress! This is so pleasant!” and then doing a double take and like “Oh @#%* that girl in the wedding dress is Lydia! My best friend since I was 14!”

I got a plus one to the wedding and I brought along my sister Malindi. She is, by far, the best wedding date in the history of wedding dates.

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Malindi was basically a guest member of the wedding party (at a certain point, Lydia just opted to pull her in for the photos). While we did various official wedding tasks she just took care of every little random detail that people hadn’t thought of (negotiating a bigger room with the hotel staff, setting up the pre-wedding hangout decor, picking up the Indian food, etc.) She also served as the motivator during the epic glamorizing session pre-wedding, selecting sweet jams and dancing enthusiastically.

But let’s rewind a bit in time. Malindi and I hopped on a plane at RDU (our mom, because she is a fantastic human being, gave us her airline miles for free) and arrived Thursday mid-afternoon to Chicago, where Lydia and Brian live. From O’Hare, we hopped in a shuttle up north to Lake Forest, where the wedding was held. The venue was Elawa Farm, and it was DOPE.

We began with the rehearsal- already verklempt.

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Then we had a super boss rehearsal dinner! I love getting to go to the rehearsal dinner for a wedding. Smaller crowd, actually getting to talk to people in depth. Much more my introvert speed. Lydia’s grandma was a really epic lady and it was particularly a treat to get to meet her.

Check out this tasty, uber summery menu:

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We started with little crostini which were SO GOOD.

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One with hummus and fresh tomaters, one with cheese and mushrooms and then more cheese (the mushrooms were SO SO GOOD)

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Then for my appetizer I opted for the salad which was just perfect and fresh and pretty.

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Then I had the salmon, which was perrrfectly cooked. And the broth and veggies underneath it were delicious too- the fresh summer corn gave such a wonderful pop.

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Sorbet for dessert. GORGEY color. It was, I wanna say, raspberry and blood orange?

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The next day, Friday, we did various activities around town (including mani-pedis while watching the Olympics, a super fun way to spend an hour).

Then because there were so many out of towners, Lydia and Brian invited everyone to a casual hangout in a park. Lydia’s stepdad had a whole vision for the stereo system and Victoria saved the day and made it happen. (Fun fact: many of Lydia and Brian’s college friend are past/current circus members. They have mad acrobatic and juggling skills!)

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Decor was super cute. There were tasty treats.

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So the mani pedis early in the day were really just a foreshadowing of the INTENSE GIRLINESS THAT WAS TO COME. Girliest 24 hours of my life. SO FUN.

    • Mani pedis
    • After the barbecue, Lydia and Malindi and I shared a hotel room and ordered some Indian food which we ate in bed (!). Then we put on face masks (!) and watched Bridesmaids (!!)
    • The next morning, we went to Dunkies for coffee and bagels and I loudly went YES HELLO DO YOU HAVE ANY BRIDAL SPECIALS HERE IS THE BRIDE WE ARE HERE GETTING COFFEE FOR THE BRIDE SHE IS GETTING MARRIED TODAY
    • Then we went on a secret early errand which definitely wasn’t to Victoria’s Secret
    • Then it was hair and makeup time! Oh my gosh it was so so fun! As yall have gathered from the tone of this blog, I am pretty low key when it comes to putting effort into my personal appearance and I do my hair and makeup maybe twice a year, and never very elaborately. WELL, the makeup lady was a GENIUS. She said the goal was basically like Photoshop in real life and mission accomplished! She AIRBRUSHED makeup onto our face which was cool and weird and I was thinking would be uncomfortable but was in fact like having a small fan gently blowing cool air on your face. And it was great because I looked like MYSELF (freckles!) but BETTER (sexy eyelashes, wider set eyes). Don’t have formal photos from the wedding yet but a bonus of the individual false eyelashes she put on was that they lasted for a few days so I was back to being my messy self except with GORGEOUS eyelashes! I stared at them at every opportunity.
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    • Then it was to the hair genius. I said “Iunno, I’ve never had my hair done fancier than a blowout. Here’s what my dress looks like. Do whatever you want.” IT WAS SPECTACULAR. Shoutout to Malindi for getting a picture. When I took out at the end of the night I found NINETEEN hairpins.

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Okay so once the girliness had concluded it was time for the wedding itself. I was actually the maid of honor (!!!) so I was rather busy for the ceremony. No pictures yet, hopefully there will be some good ones once the formal pics have arrived.

The ceremony was lovely though. They blended traditions, since Lydia was raised Methodist and Brian was raised Jewish. Lydia’s pastor from home flew out to officiate and she was adorable- at the last minute to surprise Brian they decided to include the breaking of the glass at the end of the ceremony, as happens in Jewish weddings. And during the ceremony the pastor talked a little bit about the reasons for the breaking of the glass. And then later at the reception some of us mentioned how nice it was to include that and she was like, “As a feminist, I could not have included the part in the ceremony if it was at all referring to the loss of virginity, but it wasn’t, so it was okay.” HAHAHAHA LOVE IT.

I would call my performance as the maid of honor mixed, since I forgot the groom’s ring back at the hotel (wince) and then after my toast I went to hug the happy couple and my hug with Lydia the bride went fine but then I went to hug Brian the groom and dumped champagne down the back of his suit (cringe). But, it was enormously meaningful for me to celebrate my very best friend and the love and happiness she has found with Brian. So hoefully they forgive me for my performance.

As for the reception, it was super excellent. The weather literally could not have been more perfect so everything was outdoors/open air barns and things.

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And for some odd/excellent reason, the farm where they got married had a nature center so mid-reception you could go visit the bobcat (!) and various birds of prey and gators and things. The bobcat was loving life and napping like a boss.

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And there were also little walking paths among the gardens which were just GORGEY.

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The food was great (I had gotten to read the various catering menu proposals prior to the wedding which was like fantasy football but actually fun!) The style of their reception was also I think just how it should be: there was no formal sit down dinner with assigned seats, just various tasty passed apps and then stations to go and get food. Then you could sit down at a table with whoever you liked and/or hop around from table to table.

A cheese section is always a great idea:

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Of the stations, the make your own crepe was my favorite. I got one with ratatouille and ricotta cheese that was like… everything. My life.

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Lydia really loves cake and I knew the cake portion of the evening would be a highlight. Credit to one of Lydia and Brian’s other friends for posting this picture of the two of them on Facebook… it makes my heart go all soft.

lydia and brian cut the cake

They had THREE kinds of cake: unpictured bourbon chocolate, basic white cake with berries, and LEMON THYME CAKE which was honestly one of the best things I have ever tasted. All the cake was exemplary (and had really good frosting, not the usual weird formal stuff that looks good but tastes crappy) but the lemon thyme one was the stuff dreams are made of.

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And then it was time for some sweet party jams.

The evening began with a super cute band.Lydia and Brian did their first dance to a jazzy cover of Got To Get You Into My Life by the Beatles. The lead singer also sung songs in French and looked like an old time movie star. She was dreamy.

Then to pick up the tempo after the band was gone and get everyone DANCING, Lydia and I made the dancing playlist (a SUPER fun activity) and it was just really really excellent because of course it was. We really only played like three or four new-ish songs including the always excellent Cheap Thrills by Sia. Nostalgia was the major element. We tried to keep the music vaguely thematic for the wedding (though we made an exception for Dancing On My Own by Robyn, because it’s such a great song, even though it’s about a breakup).

Highlights:

  • The Way You Make Me Feel, Michael Jackson
  • Waiting for Tonight, Jennifer Lopez
  • Hey Ya, Outkast
  • LoveFool (!)
  • Bailamos, by Enrique Iglesias (Malindi and I did a passionate duet on this one and people seemed tickled at our sisterly bond)

Here are some pictures that reflect the awesomeness of both the playlist and of my friendship with Lydia.

more singing with lydia singing with lydia

The night zoomed by (I know all the brides and grooms say that but I also observed that as a member of the wedding party). I tried to get out of my comfort zone and go around greeting people because it seemed like a good maid-of-honor-y thing to do. The bugs were eating everyone alive so I also took it upon myself to be the circulator of the bug spray (along with everything else in the world, the wedding planner- the most astonishingly capable woman I have ever met- had an ample stock of insect repellent in her giant pack).

And then it was sendoff time! Lydia told me the photographers would be gone by this point so to be sure to get some good photos and I mean not to brag but I DELIVERED.

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Brian reaching out to his mom… ❤ so sweet.

So that was it, the best wedding ever! And I will have backyard flowers that will remind me of the magic of that evening!

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the end of the internship

The end of my internship didn’t feel super crazy in the moment but did a little bit in retrospect. Mainly because it was my third moving experience in many months. Not moving meaning emotional. Moving meaning “moving sh** between places”. Moving some of my stuff down to Wilmington, coming up to Carrboro from Wilmington to move the rest of my stuff from my old apartment to my new house, then moving the stuff I’d moved down to Wilmington back to Carrboro. Oh and I’ll be doing this again in two weeks when I move yet again to Winston Salem for my fall internship (further discussed in the end of this post)

Oh, moving. I am a real freezer hoarder so for me one of the things most annoying about moving is trying to forbid myself to buy new groceries and instead make my way through the freezer stash.

Newman’s white pizza, Trader Joe’s buttery basil cauliflower

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I can only kvetch a little bit about the moving I did back and forth between home and Wilmington, because living at the beach for the summer is something everyone should get a chance to do at least once in their lives. It is exquisite.

I maintained my habit of taking a walk on the beach ~2-3 times a week. It was super amazing.

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I had a typical route I took that led me to the upper end of the Wrightsville Beach strip and back again (a total of ~ 5 miles!) but one day I parked in a different place and mixed up my route and ended up at the other end of the strip and that was beautiful too!

Not just because dimey surfers crossed in front of my camera just when I took the picture 😉

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I had more beach visitors- Colton (in the center, looking like an idiot with his hot dog) and his boyf James (in the back) and their crazy friend Kendra (crazy in a good way). Here we are being so cool at Costco.

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We basically just ate and vegetated by the water all weekend.

On Sunday we went to an all you can eat breakfast place called Boca Bay. It was all right but I probably wouldn’t go back because their buffet was overly reliant on various kinds of white bread and baked goods and not enough other things, IMO. For example, I found fruit but it was sort of hidden!

First course: a wee fruit bowl, a blintz, lox ‘n toppings, a mushroom croissant (not very good, only ate the mushroom part), eggs Florentine.

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Second course: MORE BLINTZ! They were really good. A bit of biscuit and gravy. A bit of a frittata muffin. As you can see, this was not a colorful plate 🙂

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Shockingly, this wee bit of yogurt/granola/fruit satisfied my urge for dessert (probably because I was already *@#%&@#ing full)

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That gluttony powered me through a very intense workout at the gym. And then (have you noticed how I’ve discussed several meals in a row eaten out? So much for cleaning out the fridge!) I got a green smoothie for a late dinner.

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Here are some absurd pictures for you!

We had something called trauma rounds, which are designed to be an interdisciplinary gathering where people from different professions of the hospital hear an expert on a particular health condition to learn to better treat patients. WELL. The one I went to was on snake bites. So okay, relevant, right? North Carolina has venomous snakes! However, the presenter was not a doctor or a surgeon or a maker of anti venom… it was a guy from the Serpentarium, the weird snake zoo in Wilmington. Just this RANDOM DUDE, talking about how he’s been bitten a bunch of times by poisonous snakes (!) and how you shouldn’t do a fasciotomy because it doesn’t do anything, just give them anti venom and “something good for the pain, I really liked Dilaudid”, and then he just pulls out what were basically large tupperwares with DANGEROUS VENEMOUS SNAKES INSIDE and just pulled them out and let them WANDER AROUND ON THE STAGE in this little auditorium where rounds were.

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(Copperhead)

And they always say they’re more scared of you than you are of them but in the case of at least the water moccasin and the timber rattlesnake that was NOT true- they were PISSED and DEFINITELY JUST WANTED TO BITE SOMEONE. Which was particularly disconcerting when they’d go shooting off the stage and INTO THE AUDIENCE, basically inches away from where people were sitting in the first row. It was madness! Hospitals are so intensely preoccupied with safety, and THIS was allowed?! Just ridiculous.

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(water moccasin)

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Timber rattlesnake, VERY angry and VERY venemous. He said comparable to a cobra.

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I also had fun watching the convention and teaching my coworkers about the incredible articles that The Onion publishes about Joe Biden. I’m going to miss them real bad.

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The night before my last day of my internship I took one last dreamy beach walk. Low tide continues to be the coolest.

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I was smack dab in the middle of two converging tides – see one coming in from the left and one from the right? I think when those tides go out that’s what makes a rip tide… so I was glad to be walking on the beach, rather than swimming in the water. I have a healthy respect for rip tides.

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My last day I got a WONDERFUL surprise from the RDs.

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Debbie Dietitian= an amusing, old-fashioned term for the cliche Type A, kiss-ass, neurotic, health obsessed, volunteering for any task, uptight, perfectionist, generally annoying dietitian. Fortunately none of my colleagues are Debbie Dietitians (though I saw a LOT of Debbies at my nutrition conference last year). I think really the fact that we concluded my nutrition internship with donuts demonstrates that!

A delivery from Wake and Bake, where I went with my pals when they visited. Many delicious, nutritious choices!

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I had the key lime, *swoon*

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My life has not slowed down AT ALL since the last week of my internship and I’m feeling my usual state of being excited and overwhelmed at the same time. A few things:

MY FRIEND IS IN THE OLYMPICS. Read all about here here. She got first place in some kind of race this morning. I tried to watch her in one of her heats- I was even at home in Virginia, where there was a TV with CABLE!- but American television does not deign to air Canadians, I guess.

My life is much less exciting. However, since my internship ended I:

  • have finally finished properly moving into my new place in Carrboro.
  • have taken my pregnant cat to finish the rest of her pregnancy and childrearing in the safety of my mother’s home in Virginia. I also got to visit with my mom 😉
  • welcomed my friends Kyle and Shaylen to town- yeah that’s right I am continuing to get ALL THE PEOPLE to move to the Triangle of North Carolina what whattt. So far I have gotten:
    • my friends Dan and Bethany and their bambino
    • my sister
    • my cousin
    • my aunt (well fine she followed her daughter, my cousin, but I can still take credit)
    • Kyle and Shaylen
  • am flying to Chicago this afternoon to be the MAID OF HONOR in my BEST FRIEND’S WEDDING! I’m going to try to post some pictures- since I’m going to have my hair and makeup professionally done (!) I will probably be at my personal maximum level of attractiveness and will want to preserve images for posterity. There will be many celebrations/shenanigans/tasty eats leading up to the big day.
  • am starting my advanced internship next week- have I posted about this? Anyway, I’ll be doing ten weeks in the NICU at a hospital in Winston Salem. Look out tiny babies! Ileana’s coming to fatten you up with good nutrition!

planned (cat) parenthood

So there was the cat, barefoot and pregnant on the kitchen floor.

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I was in denial about it for awhile. I thought Lola had just been gaining weight where she’d been taken care of at my friends’ house since they’d been spoiling her and feeding her a full 5.5 ounce can of Science Diet each day.

Then I went another two weeks without seeing her and came to the uncomfortable conclusion that she wasn’t gaining weight all over, and her big belly did not look like there was fat in it, swinging adorably side to side like is seen in fattie catties. No, her belly looked distinctly round and firm and like it contained kittens, not fat.

Moreover, her little nip nips looked increasingly prominent and ready for lactating. She was eating around the clock. My little Lola cat was pregnant.

So first I stayed up late freaking out and texting with my sister. I was barely able to deal with having one single adult cat. I had had friends watch her while I was finishing up my summer internship, my plan for the fall internship was to come home on the weekends and have an automatic feeder set up during the weeks, and pay my sister to come check on the cat/scoop the kitty litter/open a can of wet food mid-work week. It was kind of a messy plan, but I was making it work because I loved my little meow meow.

NONE OF THIS WAS GOING TO BE DOABLE WITH A LITTER OF KITTENS.

I also did some googling about cat pregnancy. I had brought the cat into my home five and a half weeks before this, so she was at least that many weeks along in what would be a eight to nine week gestation.

The next day I called my vet. Ironically, I had scheduled to have the cat spayed that week.

I felt like a frantic pregnant teen at Planned Parenthood (#IStandWithPlannedParenthood), spilling out the whole story.

“I am a responsible person! I get my pets fixed! This cat just CAME to me, she was living in the parking lot of my apartment complex, she needed a home! I kept her in! She must’ve been a little bit pregnant when I adopted her!”

Then the guilt and agonizing.

“I didn’t know she was pregnant. She didn’t look pregnant when I last brought her in! I got her VACCINATED. I gave her a DEWORMER. Is she pregnant with creepy little fish kittens?!”

The vet let me know that yes, technically she could still spay the cat (catbortion?!) but that it would be a much higher risk surgery for the cat (and implicit in this was OH ALSO SUPER EXPENSIVE PROBABLY)

She said the dewormer and the rabies vaccine (dead virus) were NBD for a pregnant cat. The distemper shot probably shouldn’t’ve been given to her, but there was nothing to do about that now, and hopefully the kittens would be fine.

Then she gave me some kind reassurance that cats are actually really low maintenance parents. Lola just needed a safe little nest somewhere dark and soft, and ideally something in which to contain the blind little kittens so that mama could come and go but the little babies wouldn’t be wandering around the house. Lola would take care of the rest. Much less work than puppies.

So I hung up, and briefed my sister, then talked to my mom (because this is what you do when you contend with an unwanted pregnancy and are scared out of your wits).

And then something incredible happened. My mom offered to take in the pregnant cat!

I shared this with my sister (who’s in the dialog box on the left).

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Thank you mom, for being a really solid Christian. (“It is that time of year”= this time of year Orthodox Christians honor Mary the mother of Jesus, for whom my mother Maria is named!)

Okay so we had a safe haven for my little unwed kitty mother. Next step was actually getting to my mom- fortunately, I already had a trip scheduled and my sister one was jonesing to be home and two was eager to help with cat transport, and was able to make things work with her job schedule, so she came along too.

I am sure there have been worse road trips in the history of road trips, but that was… a bad one. My surprisingly strong cat (she is only eight pounds!) managed to rip through the mesh in the cat carrier and escaped into the car, and it all just continued to go downhill from there. It was a fairly horrific five hours of travel for everyone involved.

Praise be we made it through stupid DC traffic and to my mama’s house. I got Lola situated in my room with food, water, her bed, her litter box, etc. Just when I thought I was done with what felt like a fairly continual anxiety attack, my poor, sweet, innocent Sheila cat (family pet, living at my mom’s house) comes in my room to say hi to me and unbeknownst to her almost walks directly into Lola, who is pregnant, stressed, in an unfamiliar place, and eating a meal. So Lola completely lost her *@#%. SO THAT WENT REALLY HORRIBLY FOR EVERYONE TOO.

Today I am wracked with guilt as I feel that I am making life miserable for EVERYONE- my mom, my sister, Sheila, Lola, the yet-to-be-born kittens.

I’m also (unfairly) annoyed with Lola, who’s been acting like a little bit of a basket case since arriving at my mom’s house, unsurprisingly since I’ve had her living in like four different homes in the past two months as I’ve hidden her in student housing, dumped her at my friends’ place for awhile (with their high strung daschund), finally got her settled in my new place only to uproot her again. She’s pregnant and does not deserve this stress! She is fundamentally a sweet cat who is dealing with a lot of nonsense right now and just wants a sense of security and stability to safely deliver her babies!

Basically, your words of encouragement and offers of support and wisdom in this difficult matter would be appreciated.