Tag Archives: friends

Cookies and Catch Up

Great news, guys. The Murphalewski Bed and Breakfast just wrapped four straight weeks of out-of-town guests. That means 7 midwesterners are entering the winter season a little bronzer than usual and many local restaurant staffers here in Sarasota are actually starting to think I have friends. It’s a win-win!

Now you may be asking if I’m glad the four-week rush is over. Truth is, I loved having our friends and family stay with us. Each visit came with a reminder of how blessed we are to have friends and family that love us enough to leave crappy weather behind and sit on the beach all day. We realize our location may benefit us this time of year but regardless, we appreciate the time and effort (and flight delays) spent coming to visit.

So what have I been doing with all my free time since the last houseguest left on Sunday? Baking cookies of course.

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It seems like the only thing I have to show for the last 4 weeks, aside from the slightly increased body fat percentage, are pictures of cookies long ago eaten by co-workers.

It’s not like me to leave you hanging over a holiday weekend without some sort of ode to a sweet treat on the blog, but I’ve been sidetracked. You see, I’ve been trying to come to grips with the fact that our entire shopping district has been lit up like Rockafeller Center on Christmas Eve since October 24th. I’ve been wrecking my brain trying to figure out in what world this is acceptable but then I remembered a saying my dad always says this time of year.

You know, this might be the last nice day we have to put the Christmas lights up so we better get to it. 

Wait. I’m sorry. He usually waits until an ice storm is in the vicinity around December 20th to say that. And they still live in Illinois so…

So in spite of the extremely prematurely lit palm trees and unseasonably hot temperatures, I thought I’d share a few photos from the last four weeks to catch you up.

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but how about that sweet lady in the background?

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IMG_5484sugar cookies, royal icing, baking, breakfast at tiffany's cookies, bridal shower, dessert, tiffany blue sugar cookiesIMG_5482sugar cookies, royal icing, baking, breakfast at tiffany's cookies, bridal shower, dessert, tiffany blue sugar cookiesAnd now you know what my photostream looks like. I’ve got two weeks until Thanksgiving and our next visitors so if you need me I’ll be either running or napping in preparation. Happy Friday!

 

on girlfriends…

Sitting 30 days out from our wedding day (no hives yet), I was browsing through the photos one of my girlfriends sent to me yesterday from the festivities and I realized something. People should really get married more often.

I mean when else do you get a chance to spend time with all of your girlfriends from your whole life all at in the same place and all at once? From braces to bachelor degrees, from late night food to Sunday brunch, the chance to merge groups of girlfriends together for one mega girl’s night is pretty awesome.

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A chance made even better if they all get along. Think about it. Chances are you align yourself with similar types of personalities throughout the years. And let’s say, for example, the middle school and college versions of two life of the party personalities meet for the first time in Vegas and realize how much they have in common, you just facilitated perhaps the greatest (or most dangerous) girlfriend setup in history.

bachelorette party, chicago, girlfriends, wedding, spring, friends, travel, family

As my nephew would say, it’s pretty epic really. A chance to spend time with that all the females you love all at once and question why you don’t do this more often. We should really do this more often.

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A weekend under the Arch

It’s been a while since I’ve posted a weekend recap on the blog. Please accept my apologies. It’s not that I don’t love sharing my every free moment with thousands of my closest friends and the occasional Internet troll, but rather that our weekends haven’t been filled with much more than trips to Lowe’s and the occasional beach visit. Not that there’s anything wrong with Lowe’s. Except for the fact that it’s not Target.

It’s probably no surprise to you that we are big Eric Church fans. So when we had the opportunity back in April to get pre-sale tickets to his first big headlining tour, we decided St. Louis would be a good spot to catch a show. Even better when as the date approached, we found out one of my best friends and her husband were planning a babymoon/anniversary trip the same weekend. Bonus!

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We caught a Cardinals game and got to put all of those fall clothes we had packed away to good use under a very brisk November-like September sky.

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On Saturday, we had breakfast at a cute farm-to-table spot downtown, immediately followed by lunch with some of my favorite guys…and my sister, too.

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Saturday night was everything I expected it to be, minus the hour-long-line to get in and the fact they ran out of beer by 9:30. Perhaps the latter explains the reason I am just now feeling like a normal human again.

Until next time Midwest. Back to the 90’s.

 

 

 

30!

I’m thirty. 30 years old!

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Thirty! I did it. I finally passed the last milestone birthday that all of my friends passed nearly a year before me! Being the youngest of the group, I was used to being last in line for all age-related events. Last to drive at 16, last to do whatever a non-smoker is allowed to do at 18 and the last to legally drink at 21. Now don’t feel too bad for me. Looking back, I can see now that it actually worked out in my favor. I had cool friends to drive me to and from school, to book rental cars when we went on trips and to illustrate which liquor you should not make your best friend on your 21st birthday. Tequila maybe. Whiskey no way. I remember thinking that when they all turned thirty, I would still be 29. And how cool that would be to still be 29 when all your friends were old and thirty. turning 30, birthday, friends Well I realized about a year ago that it’s neither cool nor old. Thirty is not the old age I (and probably every other 24 year old who is reading this) thinks it is. There’s a shift that happens about the age of 26 or 27 where you suddenly realize that you are rapidly approaching the thirty year-old you thought was so old just a few years ago. I am now that thirty year-old that kids just out of college scoff at. Only I don’t feel very different than them. Minus pretty much all of these things. I stayed up until 2 a.m. this weekend. Only it was because my mom and sister’s flight got delayed, not because we wanted to hit up the late-night bar and watch the sun come up. I cannot tell you the last time I willingly stayed up that late. And I’m ok with that. As if last weekend’s surprise party wasn’t enough, my mom and sister came down to visit me in Florida this weekend to celebrate the official birthday. You don’t realize how loved you are until you live really far away and people go out of their way to make you feel special on your birthday. turning 30, birthday, friends   On Saturday, we headed down to St. Armands and Lido Beach. Lido Beach, St Armands, Florida, family, birthday   And on Sunday we spent most of the day at Siesta Key, followed by a sunset dinner along the beach on Anna Marie Island. beach, florida, family, birthday, swiss mountain dog, sunset, anna marie island, siesta key beach, florida, family, birthday, swiss mountain dog, sunset, anna marie island, siesta key   It was so nice to spend some quality time with just my mom and sister. If the next two-thirds of my life look anything like theirs, I can’t wait to get there. Thank you again for all the well-wishes over the weekend. I’m excited for the year ahead.

Approaching 30

Do you know how hard it is to write a recap of a weekend you aren’t ready to let go of yet?

Hard.

Chicago had everything going for it this weekend. Great food, perfect weather, a music festival that keeps hundreds of thousands in Grant Park so you can enjoy the rest of the city crowd-free and a surprise birthday party with nearly all of my friends and family.

Wait, what?

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I flew back to Chicago this weekend to celebrate one of my best friends and former roommate at her baby shower.

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I was expecting to cuddle a few babies, hoping to catch up with my Chicago friends and planning on eating as much ethnic food as I could to get me through until the next visit. I love your sunshine Florida but nothing compares to Chicago for food.

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We decided on a small get-together Saturday evening to make it easy on the new parents in the group, not much changing from our parties of the past except an inverse ratio of sip cups and flip cups and a universal awareness of the potential of finger pinches and stair falls.

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I was thrilled that all of my friends made the effort to come over with their kids, especially considering bedtimes might be off and meltdowns might occur. And I was pleased yet confused to see each of them show up with a dish to share, while I the out-of-towner had nothing to contribute to the cause. If you know me well you know how much something like this troubles me.

babies, photography, toddlers, summer, surprise party, Chicago

I was completely content and happy, enjoying a perfect summer night with some of my favorite people when my mom walked onto the deck, followed by my sister, Owen and Jake. Dad would show up a few minutes later in typical Murf fashion as I tried to quell my tears and perspiration from the shock.

I flashed back to my 15th birthday when after finishing a family dinner at home, I was told I had a present in the basement that I should go “check out.” I embarrassingly descended the stairs to be greeted by my closest Freshman guy and girlfriends who were waiting to surprise me, each adorned with a different color plastic lei. I was equal parts mortified and excited. Mortified that they had been waiting in my wood-paneled basement throughout dinner and excited to jam out to some TLC and BSB songs for the rest of the night. 

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The good news about approaching 30 is that selfless acts of kindness no longer embarrass you.

The bad news is they make you sob uncontrollably.

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A good friend is someone who lets you believe you are celebrating her all weekend and then goes and throws a surprise party for you along the way. Or someone who with her own family in town and a 4-week-old baby, coordinates cake and fruit platters to celebrate. The one who sits in traffic longer than the party probably lasted to be there. The one you’ve known since you were 10 who was in attendance for the wood-paneled basement surprise and just hours ago returned from a cross-country flight back from California with a toddler.

Note: the husbands, too. Even though I didn’t get any photos of any of them, they deserve a little credit as well. 

babies, photography, toddlers, summer, surprise party, Chicago

And a great family. A great family will detour their way through the northern part of the state and back, spend the better part of the day at LegoLand and then trek all the way into the city just to be there to celebrate with you and your friends. On Lollapalooza weekend no less.

These people and that city make it hard for a girl to recap a weekend she wishes she was still in the middle of.

Nonetheless, I’m feeling pretty good about this whole 30 thing.

Almost 30

I noticed this article circulating on social media over the past few days.20140629-164525-60325877.jpg

Sounds pretty familiar, no?

I thought so too.

And since I just so happen to have recently moved to a new city where I didn’t know anyone except the person I moved with, I clicked on the article, fully expecting 3 minutes of warm and fuzzies and ‘oh yeah that’s totally me’ moments. Instead, I drafted an entire blog post full of sarcastic rebuttals in my head.

Why you might ask?

When I moved to Chicago I was in my early 20s and this article would have been right up my alley. New chance at a career? Awesome. New friends? Sure why not? Random parties. I love random parties.

But now here I stand, rapidly approaching my 30th birthday and with a completely different perspective on the subject. So here we have it. Reasons why moving to a new city in your early 20s is completely different from moving in your late 20s.

Let’s start with the opening paragraphs because she almost lost me there. I probably should have realized at that point this article was clearly suited for someone far younger than I, but I like a challenge.

Freedom from responsibility, mortgages and children in your late 20s? No chance. And even if you don’t have children yet, chances are 85% of your friends do so you might as well check the box anyway.
The good news? All those things make you feel like a contributing member of society. Everyone has to graduate from Skol vodka eventually. Am I right?

Early 20s: You’ll make new friends who are refreshingly different from your old ones
Almost 30: Whoa, whoa, whoa Nelly. You shut your mouth right now. I like my friends. And they are my friends because we survived our 20s together, whether we remember it or not. If I want a clean slate I will drive myself to Lowe’s and buy some Martha Stewart chalk paint thank you very much.

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Early 20s: You’ll be introduced to new and exciting ways to have fun
Almost 30: Are you implying that my Saturday morning trip to the farmers market is not exciting enough? Well you obviously have not experienced the rush of fresh produce. Meet me at the wine bar and I’ll explain over a bottle of rosé. No not white zin. The good stuff.

sarasota downtown farmer's market, produce, vegetables, farmers market, spring, tips for making the most of the farmers market, peaches

Early 20s: You’ll develop the social ease to walk into a party on your own and not even bat an eyelid
Almost 30:
 No you won’t. Unless it’s a networking opportunity, no chance you are flying solo. Some things never change. Thanks to your smart phone though, you will get better at eating lunch alone so you have that going for you.

Early 20s: You’ll be able to do something shocking with your appearance without anyone noticing
Almost 30: Unless you plan on never leaving the house, I wouldn’t recommend this. You are almost 30. Why are you just now considering a dramatic makeover? If you are a new mom and you are chopping off your hair because you don’t have time to shower then you get a free pass. Otherwise let it be. I don’t care if the last photos tagged of you on Facebook were in 2009, people will notice. Remember Britney.

Early 20s: You’ll learn to enjoy your own company
Almost 30: You know yourself so well that frankly you’re getting a little tired of talking to her. You may have just told the lady at the dog park your 5-year plan and people have stopped noticing how often you talk to the dog. Good news. FaceTime is a lifesaver.

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Early 20s: You’ll learn to grow and develop as a person.
Almost 30: Can’t argue that. As scary as moving to a new city where you know virtually no one can be, it does force you to take risks and refocus. A challenge I think we can all agree is beneficial at any age.

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Cupcakes and Ice Delis

Please accept my apology for ignoring the blog late last week. I had plans to fly home and surprise one of my best friends for her 30th birthday and I was not entirely confident in my ability not to spill the beans. All of them. All over the table and the floor. I love surprise parties, but I get really nervous having to lie to people to pull them off. When you use as many words as I do in a standard conversation, you really have to tread carefully. Fortunately, recently moving out of state gives you a pretty good excuse for missing large events so I had a pretty good alibi.

I flew home Friday evening just in time to join the celebration and catch up with some of my girlfriends. It was a great weekend with friends and family and lower humidity.

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Here’s hoping I can get a few projects started at my parent’s house before they read this and call to stop me. Have a great week!