Sorry it took forever to go up. This season of my life has been chock full of big changes, and everything has been a series of HAZMAT NO TIME moments lately: My job ended, my sister came to VA for our dad's retirement party, and I have been helping with some family things. Everything has been so mentally and emotionally exhausting that a little blogging break was necessary, which is why I'm only JUST NOW getting around to posting this today.
I'm hoping this megapost will help compensate for my absence, so, uh ... giddy up.
Cleveland, Ohio: Where leg lamps and Cleveland Clinics are everywhere. you. go.
I know this is seriously old news, but my good pal (and Shopping My Stash partner) Stephanie of Short 'n Chic got hitched to a wonderful guy on September 20. Long before the formal invitations went out, on separate occasions both she and her husband (!) Ben told me, "Come to the wedding!" NEGL, that was a pretty hilarious thing to hear from a girl who had never even met me face-to-face. (B and I met Ben when he was in town for work back in February.) But then I got an actual invitation on paper and shit started getting real. B agreed to be my date (his cat turned me down -- and still had the audacity to take a nap on me), we took 3 days off from work, I booked a hotel room, and on September 19, he and I got in his car and drove from RVA to CLE.
Okay, technically he drove. But I helped ... by opening his snacks, and playing DJ in the car for a little bit. We got stuck in traffic several times due to construction-based lane closures in at least three states (strangely, we breezed through Northern VA and D.C.), but we had a good laugh after listening to "How Did This Get Made?" (the "Sharknado 2" and "Demolition Man" episodes) and the "Anchorman" soundtrack, none of which he'd listened to before. The drive was beautiful, but thanks to traffic, we arrived in Cleveland and checked into our hotel a good hour past our original estimated arrival time.
HOWEVER, it all worked out for the best. It turned out that Anna and Bryant rolled into town from Michigan maybe 20 minutes or so after we did, and all of us agreed we were in dire need of a beer. So B and I picked them up and made for the breweries by the West Side Market.
Ladies, IN CASE YOU WERE WONDERING whether Anna is just as precious and adorable in real life as she is in photos, the answer is a resounding YES. Good grief. It was so funny because as B pulled up to the hotel, I saw her right away and suddenly became hyperaware that I was not dressed for fall (I was dressed for summer). Also, she was wearing Essie Sable Collar that weekend. Anyway, we started out at Great Lakes Brewing Co., which Anna and I were so excited about. By geographic proximity, she's a lot closer to Great Lakes beer than I am -- the closest place I can get it is in D.C., which, NO. We loved our beers (I had Oktoberfest ale), but we were still hungry and appalled when the kitchen closed around 11/11:30.
We were all walking around at this point, and I have to mention that it was pretty funny how B, Anna, and Bryant followed me while this was going on. None of us had been in Cleveland before, and it wasn't like I knew where I was going any more than they did. Talk about the blind leading the blind. (But I actually do have a good sense of direction once I have my bearings.)
We ended up at Nano Brew and we LOVED IT. IDK if that was because we were so tired and happy that the kitchen was open or the food really was that great, but ... consider this last salad on the menu.
I like a place with a menu that's got jokes. Bonus points if they're "Star Wars" jokes.
After dinner, we decided to call it a night. Anna and Bryant were so sweet and bought us dinner, on account of us picking them up and driving. I kept telling them they didn't have to do that, but awwwww. Thanks, you two! :)
The next day, B and I woke up too late to go out for lunch or squeeze in a visit to the Christmas Story House or the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, so we just stayed in until I went to meet Anna for a Sephora playdate at Beachwood Mall (playdate = makeovers, because ratchet is nagl for a wedding).
Some background: I am hopeless at hair and makeup. I'd set an unrealistic goal last winter to learn how to do a full face, but then I got busy at work and was super sick for a while, then BAM! It was summer, and I still hadn't learned. Summer is the worst time to learn how to do a full face because you literally sweat that shit right the fuck off. I knew there was no way I was going to be able do it on my own, so a couple of weeks before the wedding, I debated making an appointment at Sephora. I asked Anna if she wanted to come along, and the allure of the Naked palette was too much for her to resist because I scheduled an appointment for her, too.
I am a skeez and actually gave my blog's URL + my Insta to my makeup artist, Alyssa, so Alyssa, if you're reading this, HI! Thank you so much! She did an amazing job. :) I learned some contouring basics, and she was so easy to talk to. (Also, I love her hair.) If you go to Sephora Beachwood, look her up!
Do all makeup artists get excited when you say you like wearing a bold lip? Tara, my ex-roommate extraordinaire and former Lancome manager, certainly got excited whenever I told her I was game. Alyssa tried a red on me that I wasn't wild about -- it seemed a little too brown for me. She knocked it out of the park with her next pick, though, because I looooooooved NARS Dragon Girl so much that I bought it.
Sephora haul + BI birthday gift. Two nail bloggers cannot go to Sephora without buying at least one polish each. It's just a fact. (And yes, I WILL blog these polishes ... eventually. I've already worn one!)
It took FOR.EV.ER. and a day for our Uber to get to us, and as a result, Anna and I didn't have a ton of time to get ready for the wedding. I didn't need a lot of time, because I had my outfit ready to go, but my hair ... oh man. It seemed to take on a life of its own. I had no idea what I was doing with it, which you're about to see. The wedding was not far from our hotels, and we also arrived at the venue within minutes of each other. (WHAT WAS THIS TIMING, ANNA????)
Stephanie's wedding was at the Case Western Historical Society. I didn't Google the place before the trip, so I did not know what to expect. We were greeted almost immediately by this gentleman.
All I know about the Cleveland Indians is limited to "Major League," as you could tell from my Insta caption. Oop at me.
Steff and Ben's ceremony was in the garden/courtyard area. The weather was perfect that day, so the garden was a pretty good place to be. The four of us found seats together, and took everything in. It was so cute because every so often Anna would comment on something and I knew she was thinking about her own wedding next May.
Now I can't speak for Anna, but I felt like a serious creeper because I recognized some of Steff's family and friends through some of her old blog posts or Facebook pictures. It definitely was a weird feeling, haha.
It was so lovely to see everything come together because I remember when Steff was trying to set it all up. The garden was gorgeous, there was a string quartet (FANCY!), the officiant was perfect (IIRC, it was tough finding one), Steff's aunts read a poem and a short story, and everyone was so happy.
And of course, there was The Dress.
I snuck this photo as Steff and her dad went down the aisle. I usually don't do this at weddings, but (1) she'd sent me photos of her dress last year, and it was so perfect for her and probably my favorite wedding gown any of my friends have worn, and also (2) I DID THIS FOR THE BLOG. (You're welcome.) She walked down the aisle as the string quartet played "Here Comes the Sun" and this photo was just. too. perfect. Had to do it, glad I did it.
(Fun fact: September 20, Stephanie's wedding day, was her paternal grandparents' wedding anniversary. A few days before the 20th, I discovered that September 20 was my maternal grandparents' wedding anniversary as well. Crazy.)
There was a cocktail hour downstairs back inside the building, and I think this is where everything got super fun because there was the most massively well-stocked bar I have ever seen at a wedding (at least, ever since I started paying attention to alcohol at weddings), so I had more Great Lakes beer. The Historical Society also is home to an insane auto aviation collection, so a lot of the guests wandered around, sipping drinks and taking photos of cars. At least ... we did. As someone who loves beer and cars, B had THE GREATEST TIME.
Photo credit: B
His Facebook post actually reads, "So I go to a wedding reception and there's this. So.. Best reception ever?"
Well done, Steff.
Dinner was hilarious because it turned out Anna & I were at the same table as Steff's college roommate, Betsy. Our table was kind of funny because, to quote Betsy, "Is this the Island of Misfit Toys?" It turned out that wasn't the case, really. After a few drinks, I think everyone was fine. Anyway, it was a trip meeting Betsy because I immediately said something like, "OH MY GOD you're the original other half of Short 'n Chic!"
And that, ladies, is how you know I have been reading nail blogs for a LONG time. I remember old layouts, I remember old fonts, I remember old bottle and logo styles, I remember a lot. Short 'n Chic is Steff's baby now, but back in the day, she and Betsy were co-bloggers. As you can imagine, I was so entertained by meeting Betsy and not to sound like even more of a weirdo, but I think she and I made a (somewhat drunken) connection over pop culture. It was great!
--By the way, Anna has an adorable photo of her and me at dinner over at her blog. I don't know what my hair was doing and my face was starting to resemble Viola Swamp's at that point, but LOOK AT MY LIP COLOR, LOOK AT IT! (Thanks again, Alyssa!) Anna is such a doll in person, I can't even handle it.
Anyway, I hadn't eaten anything that day except some cocktail hour hors d'oeuvres, so I was starving by the time dinner was served. I am just a touch hypoglycemic, so sometimes not eating is not good for me. I remember Anna went up to say hi to Steff, but I was like, "She'll make the rounds, I gotta eat something first" and tucked into my dinner. I was still stuffing my face -- and I remember because my mouth was full of beef, mid-chew (that's what she said) -- when all of a sudden Steff and her dress swooped on me, pointed at my headband, and said, "WHAT IS THIS?"
STUFF 'N CHIC, y'all.
Taken by B, just before he & I left.
So many questions: Why was I pulling my sweater? What is happening with my hair? Are our boobs touching?!
Whatever, STILL AWESOME.
Taken by B, just before he & I left.
So many questions: Why was I pulling my sweater? What is happening with my hair? Are our boobs touching?!
Whatever, STILL AWESOME.
There was screaming, at least on my part. I MEAN, can you blame me? So epic, you guys. So. Epic.
B and I are not dancers, so that part of any wedding festivities always remains a little lost on us. (God, I hope we never get married. Photos AND dancing? Fuuuuuuuuuuuuck ...) But don't worry, Steff. You threw a good party! Steff's maid of honor, Aimee, did in fact make a perfect speech. The music was fun (ever since I saw Hall & Oates last month, I will tell anyone around about it if one of their songs comes on ... this definitely happened, sorry, Table 10!). The cake was so delicious, I should have gone back for seconds. Also, Anna was particularly enamored of the reception details, including the teacup centerpieces and the candy bar (she has pics on her blog), but I'd completely forgotten about the teacups and I'm not big on candy. You know what I love and zeroed in on right away, though? Alcohol. (Duh.)
If this is not one of the greatest things you have ever seen, you are dead to me. I adore signature cocktails, and we all know how freaking cute Remy is, so this was the best thing ever. I don't remember what was in it, but I had one even though Betsy had warned me that it was verrrrrrrry sweet. I still drank the whole thing. (It WAS sweet. But ... a drink! Named after the cat!) Remy also made an appearance on the wedding cake topper, but I didn't notice it until well after the fact.
But you guys, it was such a fun party. Like everyone else, I was sorry when it was over. B & I stayed for the whole thing, but Anna and Bryant left early since they were going back to Michigan the next morning, so we hugged, said goodbye and see ya next year. What I'm saying is, get ready for a MICHIGAN MEGAPOST in June 2015. (Also, gosh, I hope I know how do a full face next year ...)
The next morning, I rolled out of bed, took a quick shower, and hopped into an Uber to go to brunch with my friend Jacqui of The Scholarly Nail and her husband, also named Remy. We hit up a place called Deagan's, and it was on point. My pistachio french toast was little much for me, but the bacon and the mimosas were sooooo good. I really enjoyed meeting Jacqui and Remy -- they're so funny and although Jacqui hasn't been so much into nails lately, we still had a lot to talk about. We actually discovered one of her childhood best friends used to work with my sister in Richmond. Isn't that crazy??? I wish I'd been in town for longer so we could have spent more time together (and I want to meet their dogs sooooooooooo badly), but I hope those two make their way over to Virginia for a visit! <3
After brunch and the beginning of the Browns game, Jacqui and Remy were awesome and drove me back to the hotel. I have to tell you that their car smelled really nice, as befits a wax enthusiast. ;)
B had already gotten up and showered when I got back, so he and I headed to Tremont for a very important pilgrimage.
WE HAD TO.
We also went a little ham in the gift shop, but we didn't stay too long because it looked like it was going to rain. We also had plans to have dinner and meet Remy with Steff, Ben, and Betsy, so we picked up Betsy and went to Melt. I have been intrigued by Melt for a while, due to Steff's occasional Melt photos and that "Man v. Food" Cleveland episode, so there was NO WAY I was leaving Cleveland without going to one.
B and I split two sandwiches, the Cleveland cheese steak and The Dude Abides. Holy. Crap. They were so good. I had been told the whole day to not eat too much before going to Melt, and everyone was right. So I'm telling you now, don't eat a lot if you plan to go there. Your insides will be so grateful. I had to eat the other half of my Dude Abides the next day, that's how much there is. After this, I don't understand how anyone could complete the Melt Challenge. O___O
I laughed so hard after Ben paid the tab (thank you!) and Steff said, "Let's go meet the cat!" So we did. You guys, Remy is just as majestic as you think he is. I brought along a Cat Dancer as a present for him (10 out of 10 cats recommend it, you know), and he was allllllllll about that thing. I also took a billion crappy phone photos of him to send to my sister and Madeline, so here are some that didn't make it to them or to my Insta. Again, you're welcome.
Steff: "Is he everything you thought he would be?"
Me: "OMG, YES."
Me: "OMG, YES."
He was not happy when no one got up to move the Cat Dancer for him, so he played with it by himself.
Such a judgy, fluffy overlord! (Photo credit: B)
Not Remy, but look at this budding bromance. Ben and B discovered a mutual love for old cars at dinner, then once we got to the apartment, they disappeared with Ben's Pac-man machine for almost two hours, and this also happened. Nerds.
So fluffy and soft! And so adorably grumpy. I think he was mad that Steff and Ben left him for a couple of days. But he loved Cat Dancer, so I took that as a sign that it was OK to kiss him goodbye. He let me. I don't think he liked B, though, because B tried to pick him up when he would not come back inside from the balcony, and he was not having it.
When we finally left, it was either close to or just after midnight, and everyone was so tired. B and I dropped Betsy back at her hotel, and collapsed into bed back at ours because we had a long return drive to Richmond ahead of us. It was a lot easier this time around now that we knew the route a little more (we had been completely dependent on GPS on the way to CLE). We actually stopped at Ikea in northern VA on the way home under the pretense of looking at furniture, but only ended up getting this.
We were really glad to be back home, though. I love Virginia. I really do. As much as I fantasize about living in other cities, Virginia is my forever (furever?) home.
Virginia also is home to this spoiled little guy.
Look at that face! This was Friday morning, less than an hour before B and I hit the road. He knew something was up.
Fast forward to Monday night and Tuesday morning, respectively:
Dawwwwwww. B says Mr. Archer has been quite the cuddle slut since we came back from Cleveland. B's mom fed and tried to play with him while we were gone, and I totally believed her when she said he pouted -- this cat is not used to being alone for days at a time. Although B and I can leave for a few hours, for the most part at least one of us is around the house. Poor Fuzzy. He's going to be so pissed when we go to Anna's wedding next year!
I keep using the word "epic" to describe that weekend, but I can't think of any other word that would suffice. I got to go on a beautiful autumn road trip with my favorite person. I got to meet not one, but THREE (!) of my long-time nail blogger friends, and one of them had a wonderful wedding. I met the fluffiest, most regal cat. I got to drink some great beer and eat horribly amazing food. I got to go to the Christmas Story House. I have heard the gospel of the NARS matte velvet lip pencil (and consequently, am finding it hard to go back to using regular tube lipstick). Epic, all of it. Obviously, I will be back for a visit. When, I don't know, but like Ahnold, I'll be back.
Oh, dang. I almost forgot to show you what was on my nails.
See, Madeline! No one can spell my name right.
Coffee sleeve crocheted by and gifted to me from Danielle
Nope, I'm not an abuser of the #mynailsandmydrink hashtag or anything. But what is this, exactly?
If it looks familiar, that's because it's OPI All Sparkly and Gold, which you've seen before. I loved it back in February, and I still love it now. Definitely Top 20 Nail Polishes OF ALL TIME material for me. It held up incredibly well for the duration of our Cleveland trip, especially considering that I forgot to use top coat -- I'd put a coat of Gelous on, and then forgotten that I'd already packed my Seche in my bag. NO WAY was I going through it! I put this on Friday morning, and the grittiness died down by Saturday, so it wasn't too bad. And it didn't chip, either. I only had a couple of dents on two nails that had had a run-in with my seatbelt, but you would have be looking at them up close to see them. Bottom line, I've got nothing but love for this polish.
But yeahhhhhhh ...
I had the best time, Steff's wedding was lovely, B did not get a speeding ticket (whoooooo) (this was a very real concern, as he has a lead foot), and I'm so glad everything worked out in the end.
Thanks for reading! I also really hope this post was worth the wait. I've missed blogging so, so much, but as I said earlier, time is not on my side right now. However, I will have at least two posts before the end of October, and things will get back to normal around here in November (or what passes for "normal" on this blog), just in time for the holidays and my tradition of blogging Christmas movies. I can't wait, you guys. It's going to be so much fun.
I mean, it's not like you expect anything else from me. ;)
Once again, my apologies for the radio silence, but now I have QUESTIONS. Have you ever attended a blogger friend's wedding? Would you attend a blogger friend's wedding? What's the most adorable wedding detail you've ever seen? What are your thoughts on signature cocktails? What's your favorite lipstick/lip product? Please, please, PLEASE leave me a crap ton of comments -- I'd love to hear from you, 'cause it's been a while since my last post! <3 <3 <3