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Archive for "Relationship"

The Best of 2017

Posted on January 30, 2018 by under Life, Relationship, Zumba.    

Every year I post highlights to reflect on everything that happened — good and bad. I usually post it at the very end of the year or right at the beginning of the new year. I’m a little bit late posting this one because our weekends have been jam-packed with stuff. It’s been difficult to find a few minutes to write about an entire year.

First, here are links to past annual recaps to get you caught up:

So what happened last year? So much! Probably too much to condense into a single update but I’m going to give it my best effort.

We started the year off strong with a Plank Challenge and we were very optimistic about blowing our goals out of the water. However, it didn’t take long for us to succumb to life and being busy and we were back to our lazy selves in no time.

I hosted my first Zumbathon® and we raised a good chunk of money for Big Brothers Big Sisters, a cause that is near and dear to me. All of the crazy fundraising we did during the “For Kids’ Sake” campaign paid off. I was the top fundraiser at our annual company “Bowl for Kids’ Sake” event.

Brian and I attended more events this year than we ever have and were even inducted into the Society of 1895. I couldn’t make that luncheon but Brian attended for the both of us. Here are some of the other events we had the privilege of attending last year:

We also discovered a winery just South of Wichita. Besides selling great wine, they also host an amazing outdoor concert series every summer.

The Keeper of the Plains statue that Brian helped design was finally installed in our atrium at work. And, it’s magnificent!

I celebrated my 15th service anniversary at work. I also switched teams at this time. I’m still in Customer Care but now part of the Business Solutions team.

Brian and I traveled to two places we’d never been. First to Alaska over Memorial weekend, where we went to visit Sheryll and her family. Then, later in the year, we celebrated my 40th birthday in the Bahamas. Both trips were memorable in their own way and we feel truly blessed that we had the opportunity to go.

We hosted a couple of fun parties at the house. The one over Fourth of July weekend resulted in Brian finally completing the installation of the automatic garage door opener for our third car garage. The second one was the first Zumba World Party party that I’ve had in a long time.

Besides installing a garage door opener, Brian also installed a Nest thermostat and some smart switches.

Brian and I completed a couple of drink tours: the Wicked Brew Tour and the Carlos O’Kelly’s Summer Drink Tour. The former got us these cool, limited edition shirts from Visit Wichita. The latter got us really cool hand-blown glassware.

Besides the #DanceForKids Zumbathon that I hosted at the beginning of the year, I did a ton of Zumba. We had more Zumba in the Square events than ever. There was Zumba at the Relay for Life event, where we danced from Friday night into Saturday morning. I added a new class to my Zumba teaching scheduled — 5:15 AM on Fridays. And then, of course, there’s the annual Zumba Instructor Convention (aka #ZINCON), where we spend four days of nonstop Zumba.

Speaking of Zumba, I finally made Zumba Wear 3 Star Insider! My friend Missy and I made it during the same quarter.

Other firsts include visiting local sunflower fields for the first time and playing in a ping pong tournament with some friends. I have to say 2017 is the year that I saw my ping pong game truly improve.

This was a banner year for me because it’s the year that I left my 30s behind. Supposedly 40 is the new 30 so I’m looking forward to what this new year will bring!

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Fifteen Years of Marital Bliss

Posted on August 23, 2017 by under Food and Drink, Life, Relationship.    

We had a few trips planned this year (Alaska in May, ZINCON in July, and my 40th birthday celebration at Sandals Emerald Bay in October) so we decided to keep it pretty low key for our 15th wedding anniversary.

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We started things off with a bang (pun intended) by having dinner at Bonefish Grill on Thursday, August 10, which is our actual anniversary day.

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We had a fabulous dinner. Here are a couple of pics.

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We continued our celebration that weekend with a quick Kansas City getaway.

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We ended up taking Molly with us because of the whole fiasco at the pet boarding place during ZINCON where she got attacked by another dog at daycare, which she wasn’t even supposed to be in. Anyway, we ended up still boarding Saki because the hotel only allowed one pet and Saki loves being around other dogs. Molly, who ended up with staples on her head after the incident, had just gotten her staples removed the day before so we didn’t want to chance it.

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This is what her head looked like when we arrived home from ZINCON.

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This is what her head looked like when the staples were removed, right before our KC trip. It was still healing, as evidenced by the bump and scab on her head, so we didn’t want to chance her getting in another fight and making it worse.

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Brian dropped Saki off at the pet boarding place while I taught my early morning Aqua Zumba class. Amy was nice enough to sub my 10:30 AM Zumba class on Saturday and Mandy covered my 2:00 PM class on Sunday so we were able to get an early start on our drive.

We stopped by Leawood to visit our friend Chad and check out his new place. His apartment is in a really posh, newly developed residential area near the Corbin Park and Prairiefire shopping centers in Overland Park. It’s a really classy apartment complex befitting the fancy neighborhood setting. It kind of reminded us of a more upscale version of Quarters at Cambridge because of the granite in the kitchen and restrooms and other nice finishes.

Anyway, we had a very nice visit but didn’t stay very long because we wanted to check in to our hotel, feed Molly dinner, and also freshen up before our own dinner plans. Speaking of which, we couldn’t get into the Melting Pot for dinner because I didn’t plan ahead and make reservations. By the time I called the restaurant on Saturday morning, the earliest we could get was nine o’clock. I called the hotel to see if the concierge could use their magic. No such luck.

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We did have this super nice surprise delivered to our room that afternoon, though.

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By the way, remember how we got the exact same room that we had last year at the Hyatt Regency Orlando? Well, it happened again. We ended up staying in the exact same room I was in when I stayed at the Ambassador Hotel back in April. I’m not sure if they did that intentionally but it was a very nice surprise.

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After feeding Molly her dinner, I took her and Brian to the rooftop park above Cosentino’s. It’s a really nice confined space for pets; however, your dogs still can’t be off-leash. It would have been nice to be able to let Molly loose to run around but I guess it’s okay that we kept her leashed because the green space is more expansive than it looks. We probably would have had a tough time getting her to come back.

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The rooftop park isn’t that far from the hotel but I think Brian and Molly were both pooped from the drive so we decided to rest a bit before dinner.

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Molly felt right at home.

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Since we couldn’t get into the Melting Pot for dinner, we had to improvise. Brian had been asking to try Nara, one of my favorite restaurants when I was working in Kansas City, so we ended up having dinner there instead.

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Here are some pictures of our food.

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They serve Tank 7 so Brian was quite happy. Literally. He drank two glasses and it doesn’t take much. LOL.

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It worked out great because we took advantage of the hotel shuttle to go to Nara so neither of us were driving.

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After dinner the hotel picked us up from Nara and drove us to the Melting Pot. We decided to keep our nine o’clock reservations and had chocolate fondue for dessert.

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While not having the full Melting Pot experience was a bit disappointing, I think it actually saved us money. LOL. Having dinner there would have cost us at least $120. The cost of the chocolate fondue wasn’t too bad.

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Dessert was about $20 (before tip) for both of us.

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We were ridiculously stuffed after eating all of that sushi and chocolate fondue. Thankfully, neither of us had to drive. The hotel shuttle picked us up from the restaurant and took us back to the hotel.

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Dinner and dessert were delicious but being chauffeured around town was priceless. I don’t enjoy driving so I really appreciated it. I know Brian appreciated the break because he would have had to drive us otherwise.

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As for taking Molly out before bed and first thing in the morning, it wasn’t too bad because Oppenstein Brothers Memorial Park is just a block over on Walnut (about halfway between our hotel and the rooftop park above the grocery store).

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Speaking of morning, this was us the next day. Molly was such a good girl.

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We took advantage of a late checkout and asked the hotel to take us to Succotash for breakfast before driving back to Wichita.

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We’d only been there once before and that was over five years ago. I still remember how much I love it, though. I love that they have the freshest juice. Ever.

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These are the all the options. I got the best lemonade.

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This amazing lemonade lives up to its name for sure. If only they offered free refills!

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The restaurant isn’t very big. The décor is cute and kitschy and the ambiance is pretty relaxed. We were there early enough that we got seated right away but they were quite busy. There was a steady flow of people the entire time we were there. It’s obvious that this place is popular with the locals.

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Here are some pictures of our food, in case you are wondering. Brian got his usual: biscuits and gravy, fried eggs, and bacon.

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I originally thought about getting the burrito of love (scrambled eggs, cheddar, and bacon wrapped burrito-style in a big, fluffy buttermilk pancake) but when I saw that the #3 omelet had bacon, feta, spinach, and artichoke hearts, I was sold.

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Here’s what the inside of my omelet looked like since I added ham.

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Breakfast was delicious. We thoroughly enjoyed our meal.

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After breakfast, we called the hotel to pick us up and then it was time to drive back home. So that’s pretty much how our overnight trip to Kansas City went. It was a nice way to celebrate 15 years of marriage. Here’s to many more!

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Thoughts on Working in Kansas City

Posted on October 9, 2016 by under Life, Relationship.    

It’s hard being away from home. Luckily, we are pros at it now. Last year I was spending four days a week in Topeka. I got a short reprieve over the summer, which was nice, but then it started back up again in September. This time I’m spending four days a week in Kansas City.

Between you and me, Kansas City is a step up from Topeka so I’m not complaining. Plus, even though four days of my work week are spent away from my home base, it usually only means three nights away from home.

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I do miss Brian and the girls, though. Thank heavens for FaceTime!

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Of course, it’s not the same as being there and hugging and holding my babies and being able to share in the day to day activities. But I have a confession to make…

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I actually LOVE working in Kansas City.

Perhaps the biggest contributing factor is the walkability of their downtown area. It’s not a secret that I hate driving. When I’m in Wichita, I have to drive to work everyday. It was nice when Brian and I were able to carpool but that stopped two years ago. Yes, I have to drive three hours to get to Kansas City but, once I’m there, I don’t have to see my car again until have to drive back to Wichita.

  • I can walk to work each day. (The hotel where I stay is about a four-minute walk.)
  • I can walk to the grocery store, if I need something.
  • I can walk to the gym, conveniently located across from the office.

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  • I can walk to Power & Light for nightlife, free concerts, and a plethora of dining options.
  • I can walk to the nail salon and even get my nails done over lunch if I so desire.
  • I can walk to get good coffee. And I don’t mean Starbucks, though there is also a Starbucks across from the office.
  • I can walk to play trivia or ping pong. (I found some ping pong tables in the park across the street from my hotel. I bought a ping pong set from Amazon a few weeks ago. Now I just need to find someone to play with.)

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I just cannot get over how I can walk to EVERYTHING and I am loving it!

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I also love the downtown views. Here’s a better picture…

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The workspace we were given is located on the 17th floor of the tallest building in downtown Kansas City and the view is spectacular. But that isn’t even the top floor, mind you. I can’t imagine what the views are like on the 40th floor on up.

There are downsides, of course. Quite a few, actually. I will not list them all. For the time being, I’m enjoying my time working in Kansas City while it lasts.

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Anniversary Finale

Posted on September 2, 2016 by under Life, Relationship.    

Brian and I finished our month-long anniversary celebration with a couples massage at Sveta’s with our favorite massage therapists, Michael and Mindy. It was kind of bittersweet because I found that Michael is moving away, which means he won’t be around for my birthday massage. Michael has been my go-to massage therapist for several years now. I’m not sure how I will get by without him. On the plus side, Brian told me I could have Mindy — unless, of course, we’re getting a couples massage in which case he gets her and I will have to settle for someone else.

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We decided to have lunch at Food Trucks at the Fountain after our massage. Our go-to food truck, Kamayan, was there. Predictably, Brian got ribs with sticky rice and I got porchetta with steamed rice.

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Brian and I parked ourselves at the table next to the truck. They had a patio umbrella for shade but the sun had shifted and so it wasn’t really shading much of the table at this point. After we scarfed our food up, we realized that we should really adjust the umbrella. It had a very heavy base and I couldn’t move it by myself. Brian did a good deed by adjusting the patio umbrella so that it shaded the entire table, which benefitted the couple with two kids who took our place.

We spent the rest of the afternoon chilling at home before bowling. I know it’s not idea to go bowling after a nice, relaxing massage but we have our Jack & Jill bowling league on Sunday nights. At least I didn’t have to teach Zumba that day.

Anyway, that pretty much sums up our 14th wedding anniversary. Nothing too exciting this year. Now the countdown for our 15th wedding anniversary begins!

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Anniversary Weekend – Anniversary Month

Posted on August 21, 2016 by under Events, Relationship, Things to Do.    

We made some commitments last weekend that caused us to postpone (and as a result prolong) our anniversary celebrations this year. My work participated in the Wichita Corporate Challenge this year and, a few days before the start of the event, Ebony told me that we didn’t have any volunteers and we needed some otherwise we would lose some points. I decided put aside my anniversary weekend and take one for the team.

I couldn’t volunteer the weekend before because that was the weekend I had my Real Results Party (more on that next time) on Saturday afternoon and then I have my regular Sunday afternoon Zumba class. I already had stuff going on the other days so I had to give up my anniversary weekend.

Luckily, my boss granted my request to take a vacation day on August 10 — the Wednesday before — which is our actual anniversary day so Brian and I got to celebrate before the weekend anyway. This actually works out better because now, instead of doing everything on one weekend, we get to spread out the celebration for the rest of the month.

I had signed me and Brian up to help with the volleyball tournament on Saturday afternoon from 1 PM to 5 PM, which was perfect because it allowed us time to make dinner at Marc and Jess’ house in Derby by 7 PM. Anyway, there was a last minute schedule change and volleyball got pushed to Sunday, which we couldn’t do because Brian and I were already signed up for a bowling tournament at the Alley. I specifically subbed out my Sunday afternoon Zumba class for it so I didn’t want to miss it. When I found out that volleyball moved to Sunday, I emailed the WCC organizer to inform him of my predicament. I would still love to volunteer but I am only free from 1 PM to 5 PM on Saturday as I had previously committed. I would love to help with volleyball but we already were already committed to something else on Sunday afternoon. We all know that my schedule is like a jigsaw puzzle. We have all sorts of stuff going on ALL THE TIME.

Anyway, I was told that they didn’t need additional help with the softball tournament on Saturday afternoon but my work would still get credit for my volunteer time. It worked out perfectly because that was the main reason I had volunteered myself and Brian’s help. I just wanted to earn some points for my work.

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Brian and I found ourselves in unusual territory. We actually had some free time on our hands. LOL. Naturally, Brian took advantage of it by taking a nap.

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This was the sight at home that Saturday afternoon. It’s not very often this happens so Brian relished every single minute of it.

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We hung out at home until it was time to head to the Stoddard’s for dinner. They made a delicious chicken dinner paired with a pasta salad. It was yummy!

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They also made this dessert thing which was like pancake brownie but I didn’t get a picture of it. Brian and I brought vanilla ice cream to go with it.

After dinner, we briefly went Pokémon hunting but it was dark and the bugs were out in full force. We were all getting eaten up by mosquitos and then Brian’s phone quit working. We finally just had to call it a night. We didn’t want to stay out too late anyway because we had a bowling tournament the next day.

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Zach and I qualified for the end of season bowling tournament right away. Brian was going to have to pay $10 to enter the tournament but he won a free entry on our very last week of bowling.

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There were several prizes that we really wanted to win but our names didn’t get drawn, which was a bummer. The three of us didn’t bowl as well as we could have so we didn’t win top score prizes either.

At least I finally got a video of me picking up a 5-7 split so it wasn’t a complete loss.

Fast forward to this weekend… We had planned to take my little sister Nickira and the Phelpi to All Star Adventures for some unlimited go karts, rides, and mini golf but Mother Nature wasn’t cooperating. At least we were able to meet up for a belated birthday dinner for Gavin at Red Robin.

We felt bad for not making it to Gavin’s birthday and not getting him a present so we figured dinner would be his birthday present this year instead.

April said that it worked well because he has too many toys anyway and he got in trouble recently so she actually had to take some toys away. It’s a really funny story but it’s April’s story to tell so I won’t share it with you guys. You’ll just have to ask her about it next time you see her.

I think it was Nickira’s first time at Red Robin and she discovered the joys of freckled lemonade. It’s one of my favorite things to drink there. She originally asked for a Sprite but when Gavin asked for freckled lemonade, I had to veto her drink order and get her a freckled lemonade also because I knew she would love it because I know how much she loves strawberries. It’s her favorite fruit.

It was wonderful to see the Phelpi because it had been forever since we’d gotten together. We used to see them quite frequently when they lived down the street but it’s harder to spontaneously swing by these days since they now live on the West side of town. After dinner we all agreed to have an All Star Adventures do-over next month and parted ways.

I originally wanted to ride go karts with Nickira at the Alley but then changed my mind after it started raining. I didn’t want to be out and about in case it started raining even harder. Nickira decided to stay in and play Jenga instead.

Nickira’s mom said they would be home around 8:30 PM so we took Nickira home around that time. Brian drove to ensure that we would be safe in case something happened because the weather was terrible.

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The next morning (yesterday) my Aqua Zumba class was canceled because the water was too cold from the rain. I got to sleep in a little bit before my 10:30 AM Zumba class. After that we had to skedaddle because we had tickets to Mamma Mia! at 2 PM. I showered and changed quickly so we could grab a quick bite at Felipe’s Jr. down the street from us before heading to the show.

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Since I missed the half-priced season tickets sale in April, I’ve been relying on free tickets from KMUW. However, I didn’t want to take a chance this time so I splurged and bought our tickets ahead of time. Brian loves Music Theatre Wichita as much as I do so I just called it an anniversary present for both of us. I’m so glad we bought tickets because I didn’t see an email about free tickets this time. This has been a really great MTW season for us in that we were able to see all of the shows except for one. It’s the one that Brian wanted to see most, Jesus Christ Superstar, but it couldn’t be helped because it ran while we were in Orlando for ZINCON 2016.

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Since I paid for my tickets this time, I made sure to pick good seats. We were tired of sitting behind tall people or people with big hair so I went a little bit overboard and got us front row seats. We were in C3 and C4 for the show, front and center. At first Brian was like, “I thought you got us front row seats?” He was thinking there would be rows A and B ahead of us, but row C is the first row for this show.

I loved being super close to the stage and performers but I’m thinking that I’ll probably get three or four rows back next time I have my choice of seating because the first row is a little too close for me.

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Here’s a picture of the main cast. I took a picture because when they start coming out like this, it’s usually the end. I don’t take pictures during the performance out of respect but sometimes I like to take pictures of all of the performers at the end when they do their final bow. I thought it was over but you really have to stick around because after the usual ending part there was another fifteen minutes of singing and dancing. It was awesome. Best show finale ever!

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But that wasn’t the finale of our day. We still had Dudegrass Six. We went home to hang out and take care of the dogs before heading to our next event. This was our first time attending Dudegrass and I’m glad we went because it was awesome.

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Facebook said the event started at 5:30 PM but didn’t actually start until 6 PM. I should have checked our tickets because I really thought we were running late. Come to find out, we were just in time. We got there at about a quarter till and, although there were already a lot of people there, there were still a few lanes open. As luck would have it, lane 22 was open so we parked ourselves there.

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They had me at two-plus hours of unlimited bowling. The Big Lebowski screening, $5 White Russians, and entertainment factor were an added bonus.

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Lamphouse Photo Company also had a photo booth there with an awesome rug backdrop and props. Because we are rebels, we did our photos prop-less.

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Jenni talked us into getting a large pizza but it was way more pizza than three people could eat. Brian and I picked the flavor since we bought and we went with all-meat (neither of us like veggies in our pizza).

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Lucky for us, we ran into Lisa (she teaches a yoga class before me on Saturdays) and her husband so we got to share our large pizza with two others.

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We were off to a great start with bowling but I started bowling crappy once the White Russians kicked in.

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They were cheap and delicious. Lisa, who has been attending the event for years, told us one year the White Russians were only $2. I bet they had some lessons learned that year. LOL.

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Brian doesn’t drink White Russians so he bought a pitcher of Fat Tire and shared it with Jenni. That made them both happy.

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Brian was completely amazed at how many Big Lebowski fans turned out for the event. The costumes were phenomenal.

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There were some really awesome costumes. The ultimate winner of the costume contest was the Stranger. I think partly because there was only one of him and there were several Dudes, Walters, and Maudes. There was a really good Jesus Quintana, though. She had the purple outfit down.

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The White Russians group costume was also a clever idea although I’m not sure how they could have split the prize, which was a rug.

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Brian said, if we go next year, he wants to dress up Jackie Treehorn, the porn director, because we didn’t see anyone dressed as him at all.

Although Brian made a comment that we were probably the only two people there who came for the bowling, we had such a great time at Dudegrass. I can’t believe that we’d never been to this event before. It’s going on my list of things to do next year for sure! What a great idea for a fundraising event!

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