All About Elena

Let’s talk about Elena. Shall we? Of course we shall, it’s my blog.

Elena is my best friend. We’ve known each other since high school. We were 15 when we met. And we’ve stayed friends for all these years, even through both of us moving away and now, well now we both own our own homes, about 15 minutes from each other.

We talk every day. Not necessarily physically. Sometimes just email. Or text. But something…every day. Lately, we’ve been hanging out a ton, which is awesome, because she is awesome and so much fun.

Here’s a quick recap of what we’ve been up to lately:

We started a new job. Together. All these years and it is the first time we’ve worked together. We both got hired by my friend Amy to work for her wedding planning business. The past couple Saturdays we’ve worked at organizing the storage room and creating an inventory.

She bought a new bench for her house. What is amazing about this is that a couple DAYS earlier, I got a Bed, Bath, and Beyond catalog in the mail. I randomly flipped through it and saw this bench. I fell for it completely. I love that bench. LOVE IT. So much so, that for the first time in my (adult) life, I tore a picture out of a catalog and hung it up on my fridge. Then, two days later I visit her and she had bought the exact same bench! Isn’t that nuts. So we had a comedic experience assembling it. It was almost a disaster, but we pulled it back from the very brink.

We went on a movie date in the middle of the day. We saw Mirror, Mirror. L-O-V-E-D it. Can’t say enough good things about this movie. I had hardly ever heard of it but she wanted to see it and I was game. It was awesome. Funny and charming and complex. So much better than expected. Also, the girl who plays Snow White? Lily Collins. I found this out after the fact and have told a couple people and they were all surprised. She is the daughter of none other than Phil Collins. If you’re my age you definitely know who that is. We also hit lunch at Noodles and Co. and did an impromptu visit to the dollar store. If you know me, you know how much I love the dollar store. It is an endless source of amusement for my dad how much I love this store. Turns out, Lane had never been there and didn’t really know what it was about. I gave her the grand tour. Literally. I walked her down every aisle and told her what stuff I buy in that aisle.

We went on an impromptu date to Ikea. I bought like 6 things and somehow only spent $9. I love Ikea. She bought a ton of stuff, but we were so happy that we got to go shopping for “house stuff” together. Even though we’ve done it many times, that little thing just pleases us both so much. After shopping, we headed to the MOA for dinner at this Mexican restaurant we’ve eaten at before. We remembered it being good. It was NOT good this time. Service and food were terrible. However, the pomegranate mojito was out of this world.

While we were there, we wandered around a bit and saw the Mirror Maze. I’ve been mildly obsessed with this maze for a couple years now. I’ve asked multiple people to go with me and gotten shut down. I finally mentioned it to Lane and she said, “Great! Let’s do it.” And so we did. It was about 15 minutes before closing. It was us and these two high school boys inside.

I was immediately enamored. First of all, it was dark inside, which was not something I expected. It’s shocking how difficult it is to tell what is a mirror and what is open space. I wonder if it was daytime and it was lit up if that would make it easier? Couldn’t have been harder.

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I know it’s a bad pic, but it was really dark in there! Plus this is the front facing camera, so no flash.

But, I loved it. Lane was a bit lost. Until I shared my secret with her. I know how to get out of any maze. I’m not going to tell you here, but there is a secret to it. I actually read this in a romance novel YEARS ago and thought it was bizarre, until I really thought about it and realized it is totally logical. I’ve been waiting to practice it that whole time. It’s not like mazes are an every day thing in my life. I did do a corn maze, but I let my nephew navigate that. Plus it was different–not as true maze-like.

We went in and wandered for a bit, laughing with the boys. One of them was talking to me and I couldn’t see him. Then, suddenly I could, so I was looking right at him and talking to him. I could see several of his reflections around us, but I was looking right at him. Then, he appeared. Directly behind me. So, I guess I was NOT looking at him. So weird! They were hopelessly lost, but having fun with it, so we let them go. After a bit of wandering and laughing at how strange it is, I told Lane my secret and we tried it out. In no time, we’d found the exit. It was so easy we couldn’t believe it. And we didn’t want to be done that fast, so we used the trick to get back to the entrance. Then we went back through again, trying to remember the path without using the secret. What we did learn is that the secret works from any point in the maze, you do not need to start from the beginning for it to work.
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Awesome.

Somewhere in the middle there is this black curtain with a fireworks display on it, lit up at night. It’s in the middle somewhere. It was a good place to pose for photos.
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Liv
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Lane

It was one of my new highlights of 2012. I definitely want to do it again, during the day, to see the differences.

Last Sunday, she called me at noon and said, “want to go on an adventure?” Boy, do I! She picked me up, and when I needed to lock my house, I realized I couldn’t find my keys. After a search, I realized that they might be with my mom. I went shopping with her on Saturday. I called and my dad searched her car and couldn’t find them. Two seconds later, my mom looked and found them. Dad was boy-looking, I don’t know why I bother. Anyway, luckily Lane proposed this plan, otherwise I wouldn’t have known my keys were missing until I was leaving for work the next day. And I don’t have a spare set. Well, I do, but my parents keep them, so I would have had no way to get to work. Awkward.

We stopped to pick up the keys before our adventure. We were hunting for a home decor store Elena went to in 2009, somewhere in WI. She didn’t know the name or even where it was. We drove and kept getting off on different exits and couldn’t find it. It was a disappointing result. But we did stop in Baldwin for a lunch at The Phoenix Grill. Not great. But it was pretty affordable. Then we got off the interstate and drove the back roads through WI. We ended up in Hammond and drove right past Justin’s house. ***¬†EDIT*** I cannot believe I forgot this. And Elena reminded me in the comments. While we were driving, we got off on an exit. It was a slightly unusual exit, not quite as straightforward as most. We were turning left. There was traffic coming from both directions–with no stop signs, so these people are traveling 50-60 mph. Suddenly, while waiting, Elena started to go. She just pulled out in the middle of traffic. She said, she was thinking they had to stop and it was our turn or something and she just went. Literally pulling out in front of oncoming cars, trucks and one SEMI!

I’m a super relaxed passenger. I never pay much attention, I’m usually chatting and so happy I’m not driving. I was telling her a story and then she started to go and suddenly I was white-knuckling it on the door and we were both screaming. It was so scary. I thought we were about to get crunched between two cars. FREAKED OUT. She was so freaked she was yelling “I’m sorry, I’m so sorry” over and over, but not to me, she was talking to the drivers we just cut off as we made it through. The lead truck we cut off…a huge 4×4 diesel thing, like all over WI, pulled up alongside of us and he looked over. He could have been pissed. We deserved (well, more Elena) to be yelled at and cussed out and at the least, flipped off. It was that bad. But he saw Elena yelling I’m sorry and panicking and apparently he can read lips, because he glanced over and saw her and started to smile. He was pleasant and charming about it. And we lived to tell the tale. But, I think she scared a couple years off my life. It was really that bad. And to think I’m planning a road trip with her. I’m so brave.

Tonight, we are off to a Twins game. She got free tix at work, so we’re off for another night of fun. I’m so excited. It will be my first game in two years. I didn’t make it at all last year. Sad. My last chance to see my Cuddy buddy and I missed it. But, it’ll be a good chance to learn some of the new players.

Then, next week we begin tv dates. We decided that we are going to get together once a week and watch a tv series together, so we can chat about it. Like book club. But with tv. And just us. We’re starting with one of my all-time favorite series, Supernatural. This show is ending its 7th season in a week, and it has been ages since I have seen the beginning, so I’m very excited. She’s never seen it.

Update and photos from the Twins game coming tomorrow. I promise!

I-k-k-k-k-kea!

On January 13, Kelly and I had ourselves a girls night out. Shopping and food, our two favorite things. I had to go to Ikea because my cousin Sara wanted rainbow ribbons to hang in her kids’ playroom. Hunter and Hadley had seen the ribbons at my house and were obsessed. So much so, that Hunter asked his mom to build him a playroom “just like Olivia’s” when they got home.

Sara said they had a playroom and the kids didn’t play in it…but Hunter said they would, if it was like mine. Well, back to Alabama they went, and Sara went online to buy it, except they don’t sell it online.

So she asked me to buy it up here and ship it down to her. I said I would, of course. Which meant a trip to Ikea! I have a love/hate relationship with this store. I love many of the products and its affordability. I hate the production that it takes to shop there. You can’t just run in and out, you have to wind through the entire ginormous store for what feels like hours. BUT–this is way more fun with a friend, and on a weeknight.

Kelly and I went there for the sole purpose of buying the ribbon, and somehow found ourselves filling our arms to overflowing. By the time we got to the section with carts, we were actually relieved, as we looked like this:

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The quote on the wall just cinched it!

I did get the ribbon for Sara and Hunter–so that was a success.

Kelly and I went on to more shopping at the Container Store, which is a place where I could blow hundreds of dollars, if I had hundreds of dollars to spare. It’s expensive, but who doesn’t like adorable containers in every conceivable shape, size and color?

After that, we went to a not very good dinner at a bowling alley in Eagan, but hey, we like adventure. Then we had a long talk about what would eventually be come known as Christian Kane Day.

Kelly is an awesome friend, clearly.

However, let’s recall the purpose of the event…to buy the ribbon. I am holding it in the picture above (it’s the long tubular thing) and then I had to sell off my future unborn child to ship it to Alabama. Good news is, the kids love it! Hunter apparently runs in and out saying he likes that it is just like Olivia’s house.

I asked Sara to send me a pic with the kids and their “strings” and she sent this:

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Which is adorable, especially with Sara’s caption: “As you can see, Hadley is expressing her thanks very nicely.”

Take a closer look.

Yep, that’s funny.

And now, my decorating influence has spread all the way to Alabama!