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A big part of the reason we chose the house we currently live in is because it’s an excellent space for entertaining, and, if you know me, you know it doesn’t take much for me to decide to throw a party. Like, say, my dog not dying — as far as I’m concerned, no better reason, right?

Fortunately, I have a lot of incredibly awesome friends who feel the same way, and who had zero reservations about heading over to our house on a Monday night to celebrate my sweet, healthy pup. And drink wine. You know.

Rudi couldn't wait for her guests to arrive. Such a good little hostess.

And, get this — not only did we have a bunch of the regular crew show up, but two of her doctors from her stay in the ICU came! (One didn’t make it, but he explained that it was because he was stuck in the ER until 11:30. Apparently he didn’t realize that it would’ve been totally acceptable to show up at that point.)

As far as Rudi goes, things continue to look good. Her numbers are within the normal range, and though we’d still be happy to see the creatnine come down just a smidge, we can certainly work with where it is if need be. As Dr. Bandt told me yesterday, it’s back to normal life now. I’ve never been happier.

(Okay, fine, I’d be happier if more of the shrimp salad I’d made for the party had been left over. What’s that? You want the recipe? Fine. It was basically shrimp, which I chopped up into large chunks, mayo, celery, green onion, shredded carrots, dill and salt and pepper to taste — I’d send you to the recipe, but I printed it out and promptly forgot where it came from. It was delicious, but I really wanted to make Mango-Curry Shrimp Salad in Wontons, but somebody thought it sounded like too much work. For me. Not him. Why did I listen again?)

So, it’s not just me, right? It’s fun to come up with a reason to throw a random weeknight party. Now, squirt gun to your head — if you had to throw a party, like, tomorrow night, what kind of fun reason could you come up with for doing so?

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You might be under the impression that, at last weekend’s conference, all I did was eat and drink and laugh. And while that truly comprised a huge portion of the weekend, I was actually really busy. I swear!

Watch out, women drivers

On Thursday, I attended the Ford What Women Want event, where we learned a lot about Ford’s efforts toward sustainability. I’ll write more on this at GreenDaily, but I have to say I was amazed and impressed. They’re working to reduce emissions and waste from start of production until well after the car is in our hands, and they’re using incredible new technology to create new fabrics that get rid of the need for nasty chemicals and plastics. Awesome.

(Plus, they let us drive around some phat cars — one had a refrigerator inside. Can anyone say tailgate? Actually, no, they can’t, because everyone else was a mom and excited about the juice box possibilities …)

With Jessica in front of the car that HAD A FRIDGE. I want.

With Jessica in front of the car that HAD A FRIDGE. I want.

A Hair Affair

After cruising around with Ford, I headed out to a little boutique called Sparrow, where some lovely women were gettin’ their hair did (plus, the salon was serving champers and cheese — score!). It was an amazing salon, and I have no doubt that, if I lived in the area, that’s exactly where I would go. It’s a beautiful old barbershop, and it’s updated enough to be modern, but retains enough of the original to be oh-so-classy.

Bottoms Up

I wouldn’t have minded spending more time at Sparrow longer if it weren’t for the fact that there was a cocktail party that night, and holy moly, I met so many people that I actually ran out of business cards (not entirely, just out of the ones I’d taken for that evening). This was the first of the incredibly late nights, ending with a cheesy enchilada at, uh, 2:30am? But I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t have been moving the next morning without it.

Susan and Cat -- two of my favorite people, and not just on the Internet.

Susan and Cat -- two of my favorite people, and not just on the Internet.

YTBA, represent!

Due to my predilection for cheesy goodness (see above: cheesy enchilada in the wee hours of the morning), I don’t have the flattest tummy. So, when I was asked to be a Yummie Tummie Brand Ambassador at BlogHer, I didn’t hesitate to do a cartwheel and spell out HELL YES with my pom poms. I already had the strappy tank, but at BlogHer, I tried out the boyfriend tank. It’s shapewear, but it’s comfy, and it’s actually okay for people to see the top and bottom, so it’s perfect for layering. And for hiding an enchilada belly. (Oh, and because I did SUCH a great job as a YTBA, you’re totally eligible for a 30% discount if you order by August 8 and use BLOGHER30 as your code. You’re welcome.)

Suave and Degree Party at The Wit

You know how, when you were a kid and you imagined a cocktail party, you had a distinct image in your mind? This party was exactly my image. Stylish couches, amazing views, fun music, a fireplace, delicious food, wine and cocktails. Oh, and the company wasn’t so shabby, either.

Susan, Whoorl, Metalia, me, and Chris getting ready to take shots. Yes, really.

Susan, Whoorl, Metalia, me, and Chris getting ready to take shots. Yes, really.

But seriously, this was low-key done right. The time flew and we all had an amazing time. Perfection.

Yep, those are glowsticks. When aren't they a perfect accessory?

MamaPop Sparklecorn Extravaganza

Yep, those are glowsticks. When aren’t they a perfect accessory?

If two out of those three words don’t make sense to you, don’t sweat it. Just know this — those MamaPop folks? They know how to throw a party. The music was great, particularly the excellent selection of Beastie Boys, and the dance floor was hopping. When it was over, a bunch of us ended up in my hotel room for 3am pizza. Good lord, no wonder I need the Yummie Tummie.

BowlHer, CheeseburgHer, I’m a BoozHer

Saturday night had several more events. A cocktail party at the hotel (natch), then BowlHer, a party at which they handed out hot pink boas at the door, so I immediately knew it was my kind of place. Unfortunatley, said boas turned out to be wicked itchy, and only beer was free, not wine, so we didn’t stay as long as we might have.

Another party, the CheeseburgHer party, was happening back at the hotel, and you know, when you first go to college and you go to that house party that’s all whoa? Yep, this was a bit of a flashback to that. It was packed, and hot, and there were cheeseburgers abounding. I made a loop through and headed down to the lobby bar.

The evening, and hence the weekend, ended quietly. Surprising, considering the insanity that had gone on every other night. We all made our good-byes at a reasonable time and there were no crazy late night snacks. I did, however, find I was a little tipsier than I thought when I tried to finish packing my suitcase. That’s a job best done stone sober.

Tomorrow morning, I’m off again to Chicago, this time for a Tropicana event (have you entered to win a fruit and juice basket from them yet?). I don’t anticipate the weekend being quite so wild, but I’m hoping to have just as much fun with it.

I’ve never been a city girl — really, I’ve never even lived in a big city at all, although I do enjoy visiting them. And although I spent my childhood in the country (seriously, three dirt roads to get to my house, one of which flooded — often), I don’t think of myself as terribly country. So of course, it only stands to reason that I now am a total suburbanite.

We’ve lived in our cute little house in our cute little neighborhood for about a year, and it occurred to me that we didn’t know most of our neighbors. And I suspected there were some cool people living nearby — many were friendly enough to wave or say hello without ever meeting. Shoot, I’d had conversations with plenty of them while out running or walking the dogs. But, it’s like, then what? You’re outside and don’t have your phone. Do you just stop by to say hello sometime? It’s awkward.

So I decided to throw a party.

My neighbor Blair and I passed out flyers to every house in the neighborhood (around 40 — my ‘hood ain’t huge), and told everyone to bring a drink, snack, and chair if they wanted, and come on over that Friday night. We set up a tent in the front yard, I put on my pearls, put out some nametags and markers (they were cool, dammit!), and, lo and behold, we probably had 30 or 40 neighbors come by. And I was right — they were fun! We’ve hung out with several of them since then, and seriously, I just think it’s so cool that, as I’m running by, people will wave and say, “Hey Kristen!”

This has brought about something new, though. Now that I know these people, I care what they think about us. And if you’ve ever lived in a cute little neighborhood, you know it’s all about the front yard. I’d always focused on the back yard because that’s where we really spend our time, but last weekend, I decided to do some planting in the front. Voila!

DSCN3715

Don’t get me wrong — most of that was there already. But, I added the yellow flowers on the left, the potted plants to the right of the walk, the hanging plant to the right of that, and a bunch of small plants in between all those short little shrubs, plus the red flowers (kind of front/center, but you can’t see them very well just yet). AND, I planted a cool purple pointy shrub in the back, toward the right. Aren’t you impressed with my mad gardening skills?

Mostly, though, I just wanted to get a picture up there now before everything croaks.

For as many weddings as I’ve been in (seriously, at least 7 or 8 hundred of them), I haven’t been to a lot of super wild and crazy bachelorette parties. I’ve been to fun bars with a group of girls where we’ve had way too much to drink and danced until our feet hurt, and I’ve done the low-key, drink a bottle of wine or six with the gals while we hang out and reminisce. But I was a novice to the phallically-focused type of bachelorette party. Until this weekend.

One of my very best friends is getting married, and her sister (who is several years younger than we are) planned just such an event, and to be honest, I was nervous as hell. I mean, Strippers! and Shots! Plus, I didn’t really know the exact plan, and that’s not normal for me. I usually know everything, in large part because I try to plan everything. Go ahead, call me a control freak. I’ve been called worse.

Anyway, we had such a ball — we went to a gay bar in Jax called The Metro, and started the night off with the funniest drag show I’ve ever seen. Okay, so I’d only been to, like, one (maybe two — I was drunk a lot in college, so I can’t be sure) before, but STILL, this was hilarious. And then, it was on to The Dancers In Banana Hammocks.

I don’t generally think of myself as prudish at all, but jeez o petes, when we walked in and I saw things dangling and swinging (covered, but barely), my head turned into a tomato. However, as it turned out, the people in this club were some of the nicest people I’ve come across. Well, at least the nicest bar working people I’ve come across. Possibly because they were hoping to get some of my dolla dolla bills, y’all.

I’ve got to say, despite my initial hesitation, I think that this was a fantastic place to have a bachelorette party (so did some other folks — there were two other bridal parties there when we arrived). There were cute, well-dressed boys who weren’t trying to steal any of us away, but were perfectly friendly, and good dancers (you could tell who the straight boys were — they just stood along the wall and watched because they lacked the cojones to get out there and bust an uncoordinated move. Pansies.). What about you guys — have you had a gay bar experience?

And, since I’m writing about the gay bar (Gay bah!), I have to include this video, courtesy of my girls Courtney and Holly, because they are NUTS.