I started my weekend bright and with my my longest run ever: 11 miles.
Joel ran with me - which is an enormous help - and we powered through every mile. I actually can't believe that I'm able to run these distances, but I'm doing it! Of course, in the final hour of training, I'm starting to get really bad foot pain, but I'm taking it easy this week so that it doesn't become a factor on race day (which is next Sunday!).
Friday night I hosted a fall-themed dinner party for some of my girlfriends here in LA. I had so much fun getting my house together for the night, and everything turned out really well.
These yummy fall champagne cocktails were a hit!
I didn't take any pictures once people arrived, but I think that's a sign of a good time. Most of the girls left before 11, but a few stragglers stayed and their husbands joined them...so we ended up playing cards against humanity until wayyyyy to late. And we did a little damage on some of the leftovers.
Needless to say, Saturday was an all day couch fest. Hungover and exhausted, I pretty much ate my weight in bad food and watched more football than one should.
I had to be up early on Sunday for a morning flight out to Orlando. Ive been lucking out lately on being able to book affordable Virgin flights, so I was more than comfortable on our way there.
The hotel I'm staying in Orlando is the Marriott World Center which is a huge convention hotel. For a personal trip, I would hate it, but for a work trip - it's perfect. My room is nice and cozy and everything you could ever need is in the hotel which is a really nice relief.
When this post goes live, I'll be a few miles into my 11 mile run. We are leaving the house at 5:15am and I'm finishing my LAST run of half marathon training. I've got lots of thoughts on this topic (you'll hear more later), but I'm just so proud of myself that I've stuck with it. I know I can do this damn thing so I'm ready to 'getter done.
You know, I'm not going to lie, this week may have had a bit of a dark cloud over my head. I lost my gold tory burch earring that I wear everyday for the third time. I ordered my third freaking pair which is super annoying....I was tired and grumpy all week...and as I was ironing the couch (you read that correctly), I set the iron on the carpet which apparently has plastic in it, and it all but ruined our brand new iron. And, just for fun, my friggen key cracked in half when I was opening our building door.
Do you get your moles checked? You really should! Moles can be a scary thing, and I've got tons of um. I got a clean check up this time, and so this year, I'm voting the dermatologist to be the easiest doctor to see. Literally, 12 minutes with the doctor and I was on my merry way.
Tonight, I am hosting a fall-themed girls-only dinner party. To keep it simple, I've asked everyone to bring a fall dish and a bottle of wine, and we are just going to be together. It's been a really long time since my LA group has been in one room, so I'm just excited to see be with all of them. I'm making a fall cocktail, butternut squash ravioli, and individual apple crisps! Details to come!!
On Sunday I head off to Orlando for a 4 day work conference. I don't really want to leave home again, but I'm going to make it fun and focus on the positives. I know there are a lot of business travelers out there - any tips to making the time away from home not so sucky?
Over the summer I pinned all sorts of soup recipes to try out once the weather got cooler here in LA and so far, I'm coming up roses! I used this recipe as my base and made a few minor adjustments (like more cheese, obviously)
This soup is really simple, really easy, and tastes really close to Panera's Broccoli Cheddar soup, but with a fraction of the bad stuff)
2 Tablespoons butter
1/2 chopped onion
1 cup chopped carrot
1 celery bunch, chopped
1 Tablespoon minced garlic
4 cups chicken broth
2 large russet potatoes, peeled and chopped
1.5 tbsp flour
1/2 cup water
3/4 cup milk (or a bit more if it's not thick enough)
2 cups chopped broccoli
3 cups shredded cheddar cheese, and some for topping
1. Chop celery, carrots, and onion. Saute over butter and add garlic after 2-3 minutes.
2. Add chicken broth and cubed potatoes, bring to a boil.
3. Mix flour with water, stir and then mix to thicken. Simmer for 10 minutes.
4. Add milk, broccoli, and cheese.
5. At this point, I shut off the burners to let the flavors chill for about 2 hours (*this is not necessary). When we were ready to eat dinner, I simmered the soup, added more cheese and milk, a heavy dash of salt and pepper and voila!
Our trip to NY couldn't have been any more perfect.
Before our red eye on Thursday night, I convinced Joel to check into the Virgin America lounge. It's $40 a person (or free if you have status) and it's all you eat and drink with free wifi and comfy seats. It was a fun way to start out the trip; we had a few drinks, watched the football game, sat next to Courtney Love and boarded the flight at 10pm.
As soon as we got into our seats I was out like a light the entire 6 hour trip. This was my first time flying with a neck pillow, and as uncute as they are, best seven dollars I've ever spent.
We stayed at The W on Lexington and when we arrived at 6am, even though our specific room wasn't ready, they gave us a room to nap, shower, and freshen up in which was amazing. Joel had to go right to his NY office, but I snoozed a few more hours and then hit the town.
I met Joel's parents and Aunt Allison and Uncle Mark to visit the World Trade Center Memorial. The last time I was at the site was July 2002 and ground zero was still smoking. It was remarkable and moving to see the difference.
We had lunch with some of Joel's cousins, walked around Rockefeller Center and then it was time to change for happy hour with my girl Mallory.
Mallory and I met up at The Kimberly at 5pm for drinks on the rooftop which I had been to a few years back. It has amazing views of the city and an amazzzing french martini.
I met Mallory in person on my last trip to New York in June and after an almost 5 hour dinner, I knew I loved her and had to find some time to see her on this trip. We spent the first hour catching up/non-stop talking/laughing hysterically. I reallllly wish she would just up and move to LA because she is just my kind of girl.
Joel met us for another round and the three of us had a blast. I was so sad that we didn't have more time together. We tried to find other times in the weekend to reconnect but we will have to make up for that with another trip!
Joel and I had a fantastic dinner at The Breslin inside the Ace Hotel. The ambiance was super cool and our dinner and wine were the best of the entire weekend.
We met up with family after dinner for a night cap and then basically collapsed in bed as soon as our heads hit the pillow.
Saturday morning started early with a bridal brunch hosted by Joel's mom for his sister (the bride-in the gold dress).
Then, our group of 25 navigated Grand Central Station and took a train up to Westchester.
Our nephew Luke was all about his Aunt Tess and Uncle Joel this weekend, so we were in heaven having a little shadow to hang out with any chance we got.
I kid you not, when we got up to Westchester I almost started crying by the perfect fall-ness. The temperatures were perfect, the colors on the trees were mind blowing....I could have stayed there the entire month of October.
Jim (the groom) and Annie (the bride) will live up here in Westchester during the week and keep an apartment in the city, which is a balance I could totally get behind.
The grooms family hosted a cozy lunch for everyone which was a really fun way to spend the day. It was nice to be out of the city and see a little more of New York State. They have a lake in the backyard, so everyone took their drinks down, took in the beauty, the kids got to fish..... It was sickeningly perfect.
We took the train back into the city around 5:30. The kids were hungry so we picked up Shake Shack and took it back to the hotel to have a little "picnic" for dinner. Uncle Joel also scored some major points with a red gatorade purchase.
Once the kids went to bed, Joel and I went out with his parents for a few drinks which was nice to be able to spend a little alone time with them.
On Sunday morning Joel and I got up and ran through Central Park. It was another perfect fall day....I didn't even realize we had run 5 miles because I was so distracted by all of the beauty.
As we were running we heard someone yell out our names, and randomly we ran into one (of like the 4 people) of our friends that live in NY who was on his own run. I couldn't believe the coincidence- it was just too wild.
We ordered room service for lunch and watched football until it was time for the grand finale of our trip - the wedding.
Anne and Jim had such a beautiful wedding. Jim is a professional trumpet player so the music at the wedding was basically James Taylor concert level material. The wedding was so sweet and special, and I went through almost an entire box of kleenx. They make an absolutely perfect couple and I couldn't be happier for them.
The reception was held at Aureole and couldn't have been more fun. The music, food, and drinks - all were perfectly done.
We were so hungover and exhausted when we had to catch our flight home at 6am...it was incredibly painful actually, but so well worth it considering the perfect weekend we had. I feel incredibly lucky to have the Shields/Holland family as my second family...My in-laws, cousins, aunts and uncles, have all taken me in and it's such a blessing to have them. Major bonus to marrying Joel ;)