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i so excited

It has been a few weeks of engagement and a spontaneous, terrific decision to have our wedding this fall.  What are we waiting for?  I know this is right.  We both want it.  Our non-negotiables are available.  Our venue is “chosen” and just keeps getting better day after day.  Why have a year-long engagement?  Why put this off until fall of next year?  Why wait?  The time is now.

A handful of stressful nights, more than a few “what-the-heck-are-we-doing” looks to one another and then a late night planning session with B last night at Starbucks.  We’re sipping drinks and listening to bands and different ceremony songs… I had an epiphany when listening to a song I’ve pictured myself walking down the aisle to… I got goosebumps, full-body chills… I almost lost it right then and there.  I am so incredibly excited.  And terrified!

I have dreamt about designing invitations to this event.  And focusing on the fonts and the colors.  I have an idea the theme we’re headed towards and I’m confident everything will fall into place.

What an exciting adventure this is… and we still have a few months to perfect these details and make it better, or refine it, or change it altogether!  And what a freaking blessing to have incredible parents that are willing to support me and host this very special day!

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This life is incredible!

e

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etsy : emiliepaperie

Never have I ever enjoyed buying cards at a card store.  The words don’t come out right, they picture isn’t funny to me… I always preferred making my own cards and paper goods.  After creating a card to give the love of my life… it dawned on me that people might actually like what I create.

My first design was a card called I Love You and Your Beard – it is a popular one!  I branched out to make ones stating love for the ‘Stache and the Banana as well… I made my etsy shop, EmiliePaperie and didn’t do much with it.  I had a few sales here and there but 2013 I was focused on Apple and other things.

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Recently, I came to the conclusion that I want to make this a small side business, a part-time hobby that actually makes money.  I learned SEO tools and the power of social media marketing.  I made an Instagram and a Twitter to link my shop together across platforms.  A few weeks ago, I applied for an assumed name so EmiliePaperie can be mine and mine alone.

I added new content and capitalized on the upcoming holiday, Valentine’s Day, and created some cards that a like-minded individual would appreciate.  Let’s be honest, this holiday is about chocolate and “romantically enjoying one another”.  I want someone to reach my etsy shop and find the perfect card for their soulmate.

Like this other best seller,

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Recently, blogs started to feature some of my cards on their Valentine’s roundup and I was over the moon!

A mommy blogger over at Another Day, Another Diaper

A beautiful wedding website at Emmaline Bride

A well-written blog designed by fantastic local Minnesota women at Flock of Broads

 

Aside from that… the fact that websites are featuring my cards… all it takes is a single order, especially an international one, to make my heart skip a beat.

 

The other day, I had an order from South Korea and New Zealand.   ARE YOU KIDDING ME!?

People across the globe like my creations enough to pay for them to be shipped to their doorstep?!

 

I’m feeling all sorts of giddy and filled up inside with glitter and happy thoughts.

I hope this is the start of something I can make sustainable and make work for me in all the right ways.

For those of you whom have supported and continue to support, my thanks travels to you on this snowy-Minnesota day,

 

xo,

em

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Right out of a movie

I’m going to give all credit to Carley on this one. She researched and booked the world’s most incredible brunch at Auberge du Soleil in Napa Valley.

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Let’s just say, this isn’t your standard 3-Michelin star restaurant. This place is, quite honestly, a friggin’ Swiss Family Robinson-style experience, complete with servers that have timed deliveries and round-table speeches to introduce each individual plate.

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Our brunch took place outdoors on the wraparound deck overlooking California’s Napa Valley. I was half expecting to have chimpanzees swing onto our shoulders during the dessert course.

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This is one of those, when in Rome, experiences – we all ordered a cocktail and cheers’ed to ending this first couple’s trip with a bang.

Bloody mary’s and mimosas all around! Of course, they were ordered using the table iPad in front of us.

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The brunch menu looked a little like this.  You choose a drink, a beginning, a sustenance, and a dessert.

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By memory, Brett and I shared the half dozen oysters, the cow’s milk burrata with grilled radicchio, a Maine lobster omelet, a Kurobuto pork chop, and two fantastic desserts from this menu.

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I know for sure we choose the Chocolate Peanut Butter one, and I couldn’t guess what the second one was. Let’s just say they both rocked our socks off. Finish up with a little cappuccino and we are ready to see that bill, server!

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Somewhere along the lines of $700 and vacation, we didn’t care what this meal cost. Once in a lifetime, eating on a beautifully exotic deck overlooking Napa, with some of the best friends life could give us.

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We took one more pano picture and all piled into the cars. Windows down, wind whipping our hair all over the place. We took the scenic route home. Along the rolling vineyards of Napa, promising ourselves we’ll be back some day.

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We stopped at the nearby grocery store on the way to Oliviera, to pick up dinner supplies (I know, we just had brunch… but we didn’t want to have to drive again once we got home.) We taste-tested some frosting, picked up some grilling materials and a quinoa salad or two – then we headed back.

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The rest of our last full day in paradise was spent laughing, listening to music, jumping in the hot tub, grilling and playing Cards Against Humanity.

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Without going into the details of our sad goodbyes the next morning, let’s just say this trip was a terrific first couple’s trip – one we won’t soon forget.

Where will the next one take us? Locations we have thrown around : Hawaii, Colorado Backcountry, to the coast of North Carolina…

The world really is our oyster. And traveling in groups allows for a more exotic lodging experience since we’re splitting it 8+ ways…

Thank you for a truly memorable trip : Carley & AJ, Katie & Scott, Molly & Chris, and the best traveler I know and love, Brett

Until next time,
e

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Round two!

We wake up with barely a hangover. Win! Refuel with a little morning java and enjoy our patio before getting ready for the day and more importantly, before our limo arrives.

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Since we already had a mug of coffee down the hatch. We figured it’s time to get the party started.… poppin’ bottles.  Before you get worried about our alcohol intake, please remember, the whole point of renting a limo for this trip was the sole fact that we planned to be inebriated.  As classy and sophisticated as we could… but definitely not sober.
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Our first stop is one that we highly recommend for those visiting the Sonoma area.
St. Francis Winery & Vineyard. We scheduled their Food & Wine Pairing experience for 11am on a Friday afternoon filled with sunshine and cool breezes.  This vineyard is built on some beautiful landscape (aren’t they all?) A very popular place for people to get married.  Gorgeous mountains in the background.
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The pairing took place inside a lovely structure, the doors open to the fresh air outside.  There were two tables positioned half-circle style with the seating on the outside of the curves.  The wine experts walked through and around as they introduced each pairing.
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Each place setting had a leather-bound portfolio with the menu details & a notepad to write tasting notes in.  I vaguely remember doodling hilarious stick figure pictures and Bob Marley quotes on mine… at one point during the experience, Brett looks over and exclaims, “My feet feel like cotton!”  He is entirely enjoying himself, on top of the dosage of DayQuil (for his head cold) taken 30 minutes prior.  It’s amazing what a little vino and a little acetaminophen will do to ignite the senses!
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To be honest, I don’t even remember what all we had {so zoom in on this picture & read it!}  Nevertheless,  it’s true when they say pairing wine with a specific food enhances the flavors, it really works!  The whole experience was a delight. Something we would do again in a heart beat.
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Back in the limo we go.  The next stop, Ledson Winery and Vineyards. Originally, it was being built as a home, with 17 acres of Merlot planted on the grounds.  But as the structure was built, and the public became more interested, they ended up turning it into a vineyard and tasting room.  (well played Ledson clan!)  The structure is built with a French Normady-esque style, 16,000 square feet of woodwork and marble staircases.  Never missing the opportunity for a photo op, we enjoyed the front garden area with beautiful white roses and fountains.
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Their tasting room had wood floors and a beautiful bar area.  We sidled up and started to learn about their vines.  Little breadsticks were my saving grace as we sipped and sipped some more.
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After the tasting, we bought a bottle and went out back on their patio.  Some of us took naps in the sun : star-fished on the ground & loving life {cough, Carley}.  We toasted to friendship & love, as we looked at the rows of vines grown there.  What a neat place to have a summer party or a murder mystery dinner!
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A pretty spectacular roundup of the troops and we’re onto the next one!  Benziger Family Winery for the win!  This next one is a little blurry for me.  Understandably so; three vineyards in and I’m reaching my limits.
We made a pit stop potty break upon arrival (extremely necessary says the girl with the squirrel-sized bladder).  Then we hop on an extended golf cart for a tour of the vineyards.  Our tour guide explained the wine-making process at their location and the background story of the family that built Benziger into what it is today.
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I’ll be honest, a lot of what he said went in one ear and out the other.  We stopped along the tour at a little wooden hut and cracked open a white bottle of wine.  He served it to us in logo-etched wine glasses – nice touch.
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Cool little place.  Gorgeous farm animals to fertilize the soil.  Fluffy, mop-headed cows and little baby goats.  Ten points to Gryffindor for the golf cart ride, as I was not about hiking all over those poo-filled rows of vines.
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The middle of the tour took us into the wine caves where, guess what we did?… had some more vino.  It’s a lot of traveling small distances and then drinking wine.  Rinse & repeat.
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There was a really neat room deep into the cave that we all grabbed a spot at.  It felt very Knights of the Roundtable-esque, with tapestries hanging on the wall and unique art pieces.
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In the wine cave, I got in trouble for trying to snag some more breadsticks, but, please, this was a girl looking after herself!  Atleast some part of my mind knew I needed water and food.  Stat.
We circled around the vineyards on the golf carf and finished the tour in their Main Bar / Tasting Room.  I couldn’t tell you what took place in that space.  The next thing I remember is getting into the limo and somehow making it home in one piece.
Now, THAT was a tour of Sonoma.
Dinner plans were supposed to involve a bacon-infused local hotspot called Zazu, but we couldn’t make it happen.  We grabbed a variety of chicken breasts and brats at the grocery store to grill-out instead.  And it rocked our socks off.
Oh yeah, and we drank water, lots of water.
xo,
e
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Sonoma recap : it’s about time

It’s time for a Sonoma recap! I have so many pictures, it’s taken a bit to edit them, filter them, put them away for awhile and then revisit.  Here we go!

A little pre-flight stretching while waiting for our early morning flight in MPLS. It doesn’t really matter where we go and for how long, I love traveling with this man. Nothing but memories and adventure!

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Brett and I arrived in San Francisco on Tuesday & planned to meet up with the rest of the crew Wednesday morning. In cost-effective fashion, we booked the cheapest hotel we could find.  Turns out the cheapest hotel in San Fran at that time was ten minutes from the airport, Hotel Focus. I’m not sure what they were focusing on because this was a less than basic hotel, and by basic I mean, not entirely sanitary.  There were mattresses leaned up against the wall along the hallway.  The “continental” breakfast had about 4 cheese danishes that may or may not have been expired.  I will say this, we knew going in that it was not going to be the average hotel experience.  I think we overestimated it, still.  We both slept with one eye open, wearing flip flops.  Our feet do not touch the ground while we are there.  Necessary precautions were taken.

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We hiked a few miles through an industrial area near our hotel to get to the closest Target.  Which coincidentally was connected to a mall.  We walked around, mostly people watching.  Came across a tiny nail salon and decided if their manicures were less than $25, we would both get one.  Low and behold, they were $20.  We got ’em. Yes, Brett enjoyed it.  After nail time we had happy hour at an awesome spot whose name escapes me.  For dessert, we hiked across the way and ended up at BJ’s Brewhouse.  It was crazy hoppin’ busy.  We easily decided on the Pizookie (pronounced pa-zoo-kee) Trio (cookies w/ an ice cream scoop) because who passes up the chance for a Pizookie?
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It was darker than dark and we weren’t interested in sprint walking back the way we came, so we cabbed home and called it a night.
xo,
em.j
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decompression mode….

We went to Sonoma.

We saw.  We conquered.  I plan to blog about it in full detail soon… I took entirely way too many pictures (is there such a thing?) and I’m semi-depressed it’s over.

Fear not.

We will return, hopefully sooner rather than later.

What a dream trip!

xo

 

 

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all my ladies

A syncing of photos from the iPhone to the Air reminded me I had a story I wanted to post.  Over Christmas holiday, I was reunited with my five close girlfriends from high school.  Most of them attend our annual girl’s trip.  We had a 2-hour time span where our schedules would overlap and we could spend some time connecting.  It was decided, a midweek brunch at The Kenwood.  Fresh snow had fallen and we stomped our way into this beautifully-decorated dining spot.

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Plaid wall paper, horse hooks for your coat and mismatched framed art with vintage lamps.

In true Minnesotan form, we wore “your-car-might-get-stuck-in-the-snow-and-you-have-to-walk” boots of all kinds.  A staple in any Midwestern girl’s wardrobe.

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The great part about this group is, we can be literally ANYWHERE and fully appreciate the time we spend together.  We will laugh on the side of the street in Vancouver.  Bundle up in white bathrobes and be morally supportive of the tallest girl singing “Bohemian Rhapsody” to a half-empty room on a cruise ship.  Enjoy a day drinking shopping spree in downtown Chicago.  We can be anywhere, at any time, and enjoy every moment of it.

In true fashion, brunch was spectacular.  We dined on a handful of delicious plates, I had an Omelette Florentine and we all toasted to friendship and forward momentum.

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And what happens after we dine + cheers?  We laugh and pass around Carla’s beautiful wedding ring (does AJ know this is a tradition?) as we talk about the future and everything we are looking forward to.

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These ladies make me whole again.  Cheers to a new year and another year of being blessed with these girlfriends.

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Carla (Florida), Molls (Minn), Meg (Colorado), Rach (Georgia), Kates (Arizona), and me

So incredibly happy,

xo

Listening to.

Sipping on.

Dreaming about.

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Heading home

Our last morning in Vancouver!  We showered and scrambled to get all of our clothes into our suitcases.  All that Lululemon took up some extra space we weren’t expecting.  Some Sitting on the Lid to Zip took place.  Finally, we were off.  Wheeling our heavy rollers down the streets of Vancouver once more.  It’s nice the train station wasn’t more than a quarter mile from home base.
We boarded and snuggled into our seats.  Part of the trip was giggling, the other part was playing our card game.  It felt like Harry Potter… the train taking us through the green forests of Canada thru the US border.  I hope’d there’d be a candy cart like in the movie series… but no luck.  We found our way to the food car and grabbed breakfast : bagels and coffee
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For whatever reason, I didn’t take a ton of pictures on the train. I did however, capture a First World Problem moment when Carla got a phone call from Bloomingdale’s requesting a payment for her La Mer bill.  (love you!)
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I didn’t take pics when we arrived in Seattle because I was too busy hugging my best girlfriends.  We departed the train and those with flights leaving caught the tram from downtown Seattle to Sea-Tac International Airport.  Kates and I had the latest flights out so we spent the afternoon downtown.
First things first, I must explain that we had quite a bit of booze leftover from the weekend.  In fact, peek at Kate’s bag… a little grab bag of everything… ergo, when in Rome.
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We had sparkling water to mix and decided to make a few roadies.  Don’t mind the fact that I did it behind closed doors.  In the handicapped bathroom stall.  At the train station.  #winning
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Downtown Seattle was bustling with activity.  We had a taste testing (i.e. hydrating) stop at DRY Soda whose headquarters are in Seattle.
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There had been a shooting a couple hours early – in typical Em & Kate fashion, we gawked and tried to get murder-scene photos.  This was about as good as it got – I wonder if Time Magazine would want to purchase it… after all, there is an iconic Starbucks logo in view.
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We found a tiny paper store on a corner called de Medici Ming – french for who knows what.
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We weren’t supposed to take pictures, but of course I took one. A wall of wrapping paper, unique cards… we both got a journal and chatted with the little old lady who hand wrote our receipts.
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We watched some music acts at Pike’s Place and sent a SnapChat to the ladies at the airport.  Filling them in on our adventures thus far.
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We grabbed sandwiches and seaweed wrapped rice rolls from Michou before we headed back in the direction of the tram.

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One more selife to complete the adventure.  The last two standing.  Waiting on the tram platform to take us to SeaTac.

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I’m going to miss Vancouver, Seattle, and all of the adventures we had.  Each girl’s trip weekend brings new conversation, memory making, and new culinary discoveries.  I’ll miss observing the mess that is E Hastings Street from a somewhat-safe distance.  Observing the chaos life brings when you dabble in heavy drug use.  This is as close as I will ever get to a drug overdose or anything even remotely along those lines.

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I’m going to miss getting coffee-to-go and dancing in the streets.  Giggling and taking the sights in.  Dayshopping in Gastown and sampling pastries at Nelson the Seagull.  Dining at The Lamplighter and watching coked-out Canadians holler inappropriate commentary at the top of their lungs only semi-fearing for our lives.

Vancouver, it’s been real.
Seattle, you’re beautiful
Until next girl’s trip, two-thousand and fourteen…
xo
Adding to wish list.
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Scottsdale : Monday

We slept in as long as we could before we had to get rolling.  Carley was the first flight out and we wanted to catch breakfast at Arcadia Farms first.  This sweet cafe is right out of Little House on the Prairie.  Wood floor, red doors, cute art on the wall.  It felt like going to a grandma’s house who knew how to interior decorate properly.

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photo 1-1In typical best friend’s fashion, we each ordered a Kir Royal to toast our remarkably great weekend.  While we recapped and perused the menu, our waitress dropped off a small plate of mini scones to nibble on.

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This was one of those spots where anything you ordered off the menu would be amazing.  I debated between the Fresh Berry Crepes and the Breakfast Panini.  The panini won: scrambled egg with rosemary ham and smoked mozzarella on a baguette.

photo 3-3Next, we had to hustle to make Carley’s departure time… never a dull moment!  Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport is a city in itself, tons of terminals, north side, south side, ramps and overpasses.  Katie is a ninja navigating that space!

After dropping Carley off, we decided against our better judgment to a little hiking on Camelback Mountain in the 115 degree heat.  Plenty of water, working cell phones, crazy sports bra straps and sunglasses – we set off.  It got hotter and hotter as we climbed and pretty soon we made the executive decision that we were sweating faster than we could replenish with water, and that a descent was the best option.

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The rest of my afternoon, I dipped in the pool and packed up all of my things.  We stopped off at Sprinkles to pick up some goodies for the folks at home and I found my way to my gate.

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More than one time this weekend – Carley and I promised we would be back again next year for another long weekend in the hot box.  There’s nothing like 4 days with your best friends to really refocus on what’s important in life.  Friendships, memories, laughter, and not taking ourselves too seriously.

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Until next time AZ,

xo

 

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Scottsdale: Friday

Carley got in Thursday late night – we spent the evening hours giggling and catching up.  On Friday morning, we woke super early to catch Katie’s favorite Orange Theory class at 6:45 with Jesse.  I can see the attraction, he was HILARIOUS.  Think Will & Grace + muscles + fabulous smile + high-energy fitness.  It was somewhere between the second circuit and the side planks when Carley leaned over and said something along the lines of, “You two are insane for liking this.”  Needless to say, we were extremely sweaty, spent and ready for some refueling.

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Breakfast took place at Daily Dose.  We settled on Micheladas.  Served as a iced glass of lime juice, a Mexican beer, and a small carafe of tomato juice.  Kind of like a beer-garita or sorts.  We weren’t entirely impressed.  Decisions couldn’t be made on what to order, as everything looked good in our deliriously hungry and sore state of mind, so we decided to share the Banana Bread French Toast, The Hangover Sandwich and the Breakfast Nachos.  All of which were delicious and most of which we brought home as leftovers.

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After our refuel session, we grabbed a few supplies at Costco.  A weekend with your girlfriends requires a few staples.  For example, large glass bottles of vodka.  The one on the right was purchased, we plan to empty it.

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As we walked around Carley began to feel the muscle burn that Orange Theory brings.  She spent a bit of time lounging in agony.  At Costco… and at home.

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We hightailed it home, changed into swimsuits, made a cocktail and beelined for the pool.  There wasn’t any laying in the sun, there was strictly underwater lounging… it was hot enough to fry an egg on the sidewalk.  Later into the evening, Scott treated us to Oregano’s.  We needed to get out of the apartment as the AC isn’t working properly and we were going slightly stir-crazy.  It worked out well because a trip to Arizona is.not.complete without dining at Oregano’s.  We shared the Vino Bambino salad (UNREAL) – and Uncle Ray’s Sausage & ‘Shrooms pizza.  Entire confection.  Totally satisfied.

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After dinner, it was time to doodle in Paper by FiftyThree and laugh at the good fortune of having close friends.

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Sleeplessly sweating,

xo

Dreaming of.

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