Monday, October 4, 2010

Always the Bridesmaid...

Okay, so I've only been a bridesmaid once, but I just had my second wedding in as many weekends.  I am wedding'ed out!

BUT - so unbelievably happy for two of the greatest friends in the world.

On Friday after work, I headed straight to Omaha...and had to turn around 20 miles into the trip due to forgetting the most important thing: the dress.  Oops.  Let me tell you what's not so fun: driving two hours into the sunset.  I think I was standing up by the time I finally got to Omaha to try and shield my eyes from the sun.

Eventually, perhaps with burned retinas, I made it to Omaha for a girls' night with my mama.  First, we went to a new restaurant that just opened up near my parents' house: Maru.  It was absolutely amazing.

I opted for the sushi.  Naturally, I had a spicy tuna roll, and upon the server's recommendation, I opted for the Crouching Tiger (shrimp tempura, avocado, eel, shrimp, sweet sauce, and spicy mayo).  It was really spicy - but delicious.

Next time, however, I'm going for what my mom ordered: beef bibimbab.  O...M...G.  Essentially, it's a bowl of rice topped with veggies and the protein.  However, it's served in some sort of cast-iron bowl so that, after you mix it all together yourself, it cooks at your table and forms a crunchy crust on the bottom. Unbelievable.

We then headed home to polish off an entire bottle of wine while we sat around chatting and watching Tony Danza's new show, Teach.

Saturday we woke up early and headed to Target to buy a wedding gift, the mall for a pedicure, and then to our second Asian-inspired meal of the weekend, J.C. Mandarin.  On top of it being delicious Chinese food, my brother was able to join us for lunch, so it was extra nice.  I ordered Princess Chicken & Shrimp - not because of the name, I swear!

I haven't eaten Chinese food in a really long time because I am really, really picky.  I hate the greasy feeling in my stomach afterwards, and I hate having to pick through the meat to find the few good pieces.  This, however, was impeccable.  The meat was tender, and the sauce was not too heavy.  Yum, yum, yum.

Mom and I then headed home since I had a wedding to attend!  Jamie and Kyle got married at St. Vincent de Paul in West Omaha.  It was a really neat church: circular sanctuary with interesting stained glass and ceiling fixtures (a moon, a sun, and an anchor as the crucifix).  At first I had a great picture-taking seat at the ceremony, but then when others started arriving, I was pushed to the very far end of the row, and my pictures did not turn out as well as I had hoped...

The vows
Adorable bridesmaid dresses!  Couldn't they totally wear those again?!
Despite the lack of amazing photos from the actual ceremony, I was able to get a few at the reception.  They celebrated at the Marriott in Regency - it was beautiful!

Gorgeous centerpieces for a crisp fall wedding
Classy table decor
The food was to. die. for.  The first course (not pictured) was three scallops drenched in a balsamic reduction.  That was followed by a chilled salad with unique dressing options (pepper Ranch? raspberry French?).  Then we had quite the selection of breads - different rolls, wafers, and seasoned buns.  Finally, it was time for the main course: salmon, prime rib, or chicken.  I opted for the salmon and am SO glad I did.  O...M...G.

Look how big that salmon filet is!  And the roasted asparagus!  And the capers in the hollandaise!  And the wild rice!  I was definitely a member of the clean-plate club on Saturday night!

I love this picture of the beaming bride - one of my bestest friends from high school - and me.  And this one of me and the other high school girls: Heidi, Mandy, Jamie, and me.  While few of us have kept in touch over the years, it was really nice to see them all again.

I called it an early night, mainly because my dad had returned home from a golf trip with the guys, and I wanted to hang out with him for a little bit.  Unfortunately, it really was a little bit because I was so tired and fell asleep very early - and then hardly woke up the next morning when he tried to say good-bye.  Oops!

On Sunday morning, my mom cooked me pancakes for breakfast: light batter with chocolate chips.  I tell ya: there's nothing like my mom's pancakes.  Yum.

After that, we trekked to a yarn shop and then to lunch and wandering at Regency.  We went to Paradise Cafe - I totally wish we had one of those here!  And then drooled over all of the clothes and trinkets at Anthropologie - I also totally wish we had one of those here!

It's probably a good thing we don't have either.  :)

While I waited for my laundry to finish, I took a little snooze, and when I woke up, was easily convinced to stay for dinner.  My parents and brother had reservations at The Drover, perhaps the best steak house in Omaha.  Look how cute!

Prior to entering, my brother surprised me with a present for my birthday - which, as you remember, was on August 15th.  Cut the kid some slack, though: he's been traveling across the country twice over for med school rotations.

Just look at that fine wrapping job!

Each meal at The Drover starts with a trip to the salad bar.  While it's just normal iceberg lettuce, it's not like it's dumped from a bag.  It is absolutely delicious, and even more scrumptious when topped with deliciousness like beets, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, sesame seeds, egg, and whatever else is hiding underneath the cheese and dressing.  :)

I pretty much didn't have a choice as to what to order: the world-renowned whiskey filet.  I'm not kidding: it was melt-in-your-mouth.  Literally.  It was so tender that I probably didn't even have to use my knife.  And check out that baked potato!  Holy moly!  (And please don't forget the vat of sour cream served on the side...I love sour cream, but isn't that a little excessive?!)

Finally, it was time for me to return to Des Moines.  I really wish I didn't have to - I love being home with my family!  But...duty calls!

Clearly this blog post is long enough, but I'll briefly talk about today:

First, after school I went to the grocery store for a few random items and then straight to the gym for 20 minutes of hard-core cardio on the elliptical and then the 30-minute abs/back class.  It was way harder than last week, and I'm going to be a hurting girl - more so than I am already - tomorrow morning.  I saw one of my BFFs at the gym, and she gave me a huge compliment - said how great I looked, that she could tell I was losing weight, etc.  Although the scale says I've lost about ten pounds, I really don't feel like it, and it's always nice to hear!  Thanks, A!  :)

I hurriedly whipped up a batch of white chili during Dancing with the Stars commercial breaks.  It has been so chilly lately, and with no heat in my apartment yet, I was really looking for something to warm me up.  This was just the ticket - especially with the extra cayenne and cumin I accidentally added...

Check out what my mom sent home with me!  I can't believe it, but she doesn't like Flatout wraps!!!  She bought a three-pack at Costco and sent me with two of them!  Woo hoo!!!

This is what was underneath the stellar wrapping that my brother gave to me yesterday.  I am so excited to page through it, as I obviously love cooking, I am obsessed with Top Chef, and the recipes look fabulous.  Plus, I'm kind of looking forward to looking at the different cooking tips, like what different "chops" mean, etc.

Finally, I whipped up another batch of healthy cookies.  Honestly: amazing.  The most unhealthy ingredient is the 1/2 cup of dark chocolate chips.  Otherwise, it's whole wheat flour, agave nectar, ground flaxmeal, banana, walnuts, etc.  YUM.  I figured I'd save a few for me and then bring the rest to school and trivia tomorrow.  Or, maybe just keep them all for me.  We'll see.  :)

Okay.  I am absolutely wiped and am planning on passing out as soon as my head hits the pillow.  Check ya later, friends!

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