August 28, 2015

A Letter to my Little Bro

In 24 hours, we will be getting ready for my little brother's wedding. I've been thinking a lot about the last 25 years with him and it blows my mind that his wedding day is here. So, I'm writing him a little letter today. 

Dear Timmy,

Holy crap, you are getting married. I'm so excited to celebrate your wedding this weekend. My soon to be sister-in-law is so fantastic. Your day will be perfect and amazing.

Our age difference meant that we grew up in different universes. You were the annoying kid that always listened in on my phone conversations and locked me out of the house anytime that I had to babysit you. I moved away to college before you even started high school. It's hard for me to imagine you any older than that annoying 7th grader with a blond perm.

Now that we are older, our relationship is easier. We don't see each other very often because I don't live around the corner anymore. Getting to hang out at Disney World a few years ago will always be one of my favorite memories. When you add in the ski trips and family game nights, I realize that this whole sibling thing is way cooler than I thought when we were younger.

Jen is the best and we love that she is going to be a Hauer. She's been part of our family for the last four years, but now it will be official.  She jumped right in and embraced all of it. She puts up with your diva qualities (like the jeans incident of 2015) and absolutely loves you.

So, cheers little brother. You aren't such an annoying little kid anymore. You are a pretty cool guy. I can't wait to watch you read the vows you wrote and get me a new sister.

Your Big Sister

Stay tuned for one million pictures of their wedding festivities - especially their flower girl, Molly, who is pictured below.

August 26, 2015

Return to 'Sota

We have made it back to Minnesota. The beginning of the trip has been lots of work and a little play in the evening hours. My body is already angry and begging for sleep. My heart is quickly filling up thanks to the fact that we've been able to catch up with a few friends/family members in our brief post work hours.

Next week is vacation - no work, just play. I have a few things that are on my list.

1. Sleeping more than 7 hours each night. I'm a sleep hog and I don't function well without a full night's sleep.

2. Bloody Mary on a weekday. We all know that Minnesota has AMAZING bloody marys, so I'll be enjoying one on a weekday.

3. My brother's wedding to my new sissy. I'm so honored to be a part of their day and I can't wait to celebrate with them.

4. The MN State Fair.

5. Playdates with our nieces and nephew + additional family time just lounging around.

6. Some new breweries - Urban Growler is on my list, but I'm open to any Twin Cities breweries that you throw my way.

7. MN Twin's Game. Target Field is one of my favorite ballparks and if the weather is good, I'll be sneaking a game in next week.

8. Celebrating another wedding next weekend of one of our best friends. We snuck in a few good hours to catch up with the bride and the groom last night and I can't wait to see them tie the knot.

In the meantime, I'll be drinking lots of coffee, living out of a suitcase and over instagramming all the things I love about Minnesota (follow me here). Two more days of work crazy and then we are on to vacation crazy.

August 21, 2015

My Favorite Instagram Accounts

I'll just say it - I have an addiction to Instagram. I'm constantly pulling down to refresh and I get very upset if I miss something from one of my favorites. I love seeing the beautiful places, delicious food and hilarious pictures of every day life. I usually unfollow accounts that have obviously staged photos every single day. #boring

Today, I wanted to share a few of my favorite Instagram accounts and why I love them.

1. Pictures of Minnesota make me feel nostalgic. I usually go on a kick browsing hashtags, but recently I stumbled across this account and became an instant fan.
A photo posted by E m i l y (@minnesota_views) on
2. I also feel that way about New Jersey, plus I love adding places to my list that I must explore.
3. NYC pictures are easy to come by, but I love the colors on this account.
4. Writing funny hashtags is a skill and this dog has it, plus he's the cutest damn dog ever (and he's friends with my dogs.) Follow him, k?
5. This woman is hiking the Appalachian Trail and checks in every few days by posting a photo. What an epic journey. I love following along.

A photo posted by tosh.a (@theotherforkintheroad) on
6. Are you a Target fan? I love all things Target, but I don't go as much as I used to. Following this account allows me to know when there's something I need and then I'm on a mission.

A photo posted by targetdoesitagain (@targetdoesitagain) on
7. This account shows a picture every day of the sunrise from Hoboken. There is something incredible about sunrises and I think making a resolution like that is so cool.
There were some nice colors in the sky this morning. I had already taken some shots early on when I saw this cluster of clouds moving in. I had a feeling these clouds would soon light up, but I got even more than I bargained for when these sunrays burst across the sky like giant outstretched fingers. Once again, the wait paid off. There were a lot of people taking pictures of the sunrise this morning and it is easy to understand why. Also, don't forget I've been guest posting some unreleased photos on @njspots yesterday and today so be sure to check it out. #capturethesunrise #sunrise #goodmorning #risebeforedawn #morningroutine #firstlight #morning #dawn #sky #picoftheday #photooftheday #instagood #instamood #nyc #skyline #nycskyline #hudson #hudsonriver #Hoboken #hobokennj #nj #sun #fireinthesky #iloveny #empirestatebuilding #nbc4ny #what_i_saw_in_nyc #sunrays #sunbeam
A photo posted by CaptureTheSunrise (@capturethesunrise) on
8. And then there's me... you are following me, right?

A photo posted by stephgregerson (@stephgregerson) on
That's what I got. I'm probably scrolling through Instagram now as we start our journey back to Minnesota. Make sure to follow along to see our road trip pictures.

Who is your favorite Instagram account to follow? I need a few new ones to keep me occupied.

August 20, 2015

Choosing Happy Words

We have a big trip home quickly approaching. I'm super excited to get back to Minnesota and celebrate a couple of weddings and see some friends & family. It's busy and hectic. We are sleeping somewhere different every couple of nights. Two weeks is a long time to be away from our normal routine. It can be a little overwhelming sometimes for someone that really loves order in my day.

I feel my stress levels on the rise. Then, I get my daily note from the universe. It was just what I needed to hear.

Today, I choose happiness and gratitude.

I'm still feeling awesome about our beach morning. Plus, I started The Outlander. I didn't think I was going to like it after the first few chapters, but I'm 100 pages in now and I'm intrigued. I know I'm a little behind, but better late than never. Hopefully I stay interested because it's a long ass book. Also, the sweatshirt in that picture is from Indy Brand Clothing and it's the softest, most wonderful sweat shirt in all the land.

Summer sunsets this year have been on point. Whether we are out with the dogs or having a glass of wine with our neighbors, we have been trying to enjoy our outdoor time as much as possible. Winter will come again and then everyone will hide inside.

I finally saw the Counting Crows and it was great. We went with a few friends to Pier 97, enjoyed a cold beer and a food truck grilled cheese sandwich. They played new songs, old songs and sounded fantastic. They will always be a classic for me.

We had our fantasy draft this week. So many of our friends are traveling the next few weeks, so it was just easiest to get it done. There was great smack talk and everyone was engaged. We also found the Icelandic beer we liked at our neighborhood liquor store - see the Viking on the label? It's a good sign.

Finally checking Lion King off our Broadway list. I did a Broadway Roundup last year with the shows we had seen. Once we check a few more off, I will recap them including this one, but I will tell you that this was not my favorite Disney show. 

I'm so happy with this guy's recent haircut. He is so soft and smells so good. That beard though - he makes it a mess within 5 minutes of leaving the groomer. There isn't much I can do about it.

Other wonderful things not pictured:

The New York bagel that my husband will be bringing me for lunch today. We won't be able to eat our normal pizza and bagels for two weeks so I have to get my fill. And yes, this is why I need to exercise more - because I eat pizza and bagels on the REGULAR.

Yoga classes outside. I had never gone to a real class before. Our apartments have a teacher come and do a class every Sunday morning and it has been fantastic. I can't wait to get back home and jump back into our new favorite AM activity.

Another closet purge. Turns out that I'm not into strapless maxi dresses this year and I had a whole bunch of t-shirts that I never wear. Feels good to pass them on to someone that will use them.

Smoothies, coffee, sparkling water and wine. And repeat.

My family. It was my mom's birthday this week and I can't wait to celebrate with her live in person. Plus, my little brother is getting married to the most wonderful girl. I can't wait to see everyone. 


So that's that. Tell me what you're grateful for today, especially if you need a little pick me up. 

August 17, 2015

Thoughts on New Jersey

Saturday morning, I heard the alarm go off at 3:30 AM. The beach bag was all packed - I just needed to put on my swim suit and get out the door. We made a quick wawa stop and got to the beach at 5:30 AM. It's the surfer's hour. I should tell you that's the reason we were up that early. My husband loves surfing and I was tagging along to get a good sunrise and a good beach morning.

It was beautiful out - not too cold, but a little breeze. It was just me and an older man about 100 feet down the beach staking his spot for the day. Justin was already out in the water (that's him in the picture above.) The sun was like a hot pink circle that moved through the clouds until it broke free over the top. It was perfect.

While watching my husband do something he's been missing since his California childhood, I realized that this is home for us. How crazy is that?

If you would have asked me 5 years ago where I would be this summer, I would have answered "hopefully on the boat or at a cabin as much as possible." I had no idea that we would ever be living in New Jersey.

I love that we can be at the beach for sunrise surf in an hour, but we can also get to the Catskills for skiing in February in under two hours. We are a ferry ride away from New York City and get to enjoy the beautiful lights from our tiny little pier for free any night of the week.

I love the diners and family style Italian restaurants that line the main streets. Some towns look like they haven't changed a bit since the 60's. I love that our retail stores are closed on Sundays, but you can buy liquor (not something I'm used to in Minnesota.)

I love the Palisades Park, Washington Street in Hoboken and the views of the Statue of Liberty from Liberty State Park. I love Cape May, Asbury Park and Sea Bright. I love the wineries we've visited in central Jersey and the hilariously tiny Trenton airport. There is so much left to explore.

Our original plan was to leave after two years, but now that we are approaching that date - we've decided that we aren't ready yet. We are home and we'll stay for a little bit longer.