Panda’s Gettin’ Married!

Oh, hey.

This is awkward.

Two weeks, huh? I guess I probably should’ve called. Or at least texted. I mean, it’s OCTOBER already, for cryin’ out loud! My bad.

It’s not you, I swear. It’s all me. After my last long, declarative, overly verbose post, I really did intend to come back to blog again the very next day. And when that didn’t happen, I meant to come back the day after that. And, well, here we are, two weeks later.

But the good news is, that kind of statement USED to be reserved for making excuses as to why I didn’t go to the gym. And for, like, the first time in my life, that hasn’t been necessary. I’ve been maintaining a pretty regular gym schedule for the past couple of weeks actually, and I think it’s already paying off! My clothes are fitting a little bit better and, more importantly, I’m feeling pretty dandy too. So hooray!

Alas, though, the past few days have been woefully absent of any fitness activity. Or any activity at all, really, except for slowly dying in my bed. And sometimes on the couch. I’ve been crazy sick since the weekend, and it hasn’t been fun. My throat feels like I basically swallowed a razor blade, I’ve been running a temperature for the first time since high school, and just the simple act of going up or down the stairs has made me feel totally wiped out.

Soooo yeah, not so great. And since my beautiful sister and Mia are coming up to visit tomorrow (I know, it seems like I I just went to visit them, but this is why life is amazing!) I’ve been trying to get on the fast-track back to health. Lots of green tea, water, drugs, schnauzer cuddles, and REST. I am feeling much improved today (although it does still hurt to swallow), and hopefully this is the last bit of it.

Anyway, so that also has contributed to the distinct lack of blog-age this week, which was especially lame because I actually, miraculously had something to blog about! On Saturday (before I realized I was truly down-and-out sick), I attended my good friend Amanda’s bridal shower.

And because she is already oh-so-aware that I am that friend I took a few obnoxious photos while I was there!

Of course, as with most things, this is mostly a thinly veiled excuse for me to show off my new dress to those of you who don’t follow me on Instagram. Isn’t it pretty? $40 at Nordstrom Rack, baby!

Amanda’s bridesmaids threw a beautiful shower that was perfectly themed around her. Not only were there classic Bridal Shower games like toilet paper bridal gown making and “How Well Do You Know the Groom?” trivia (complete with video-recorded responses from her fiance!), but there was also one that I would ONLY ever get to experience at a party for Amanda, who is a huuuuuge history nerd. I mean, history buff.

Yep, there was Presidential Trivia at this shower. Well, First Lady Trivia, to be specific. Suffice it to say, I did not do great on this challenge. In my defense though, they didn’t exactly make it easy on us! There was not one single “Jacqueline,” “Michelle,” “Hillary,” or “Barbara” on there.

I tried not to be too obnoxious with my camera during present-time, so I only snapped a couple pics as Amanda opened my gift, which was OBVIOUSLY a wok set. I mean, c’mon.

In addition to adorable and delicious-smelling candles (pumpkin-scented!) as our bridal favors, we each got to go home with our own chalkboard champagne glass as well. Such a great idea! I gotta remember to Pin that after this is posted, hahaha.

So there you have it: definitive proof that I still have some semblance of a life outside of Yelp, hahaha. Hopefully by the end of today I’ll be back in tip-top shape health-wise and will have even more fun stuff to report on throughout the next week! And if by some unlucky circumstance another couple of weeks goes by between now and when I see you again, just remember: it’s not you, it’s definitely, definitely me.

And remember: if nothing else, I am almost certain to be back here on Friday, if not solely to express what I’m sure will be CONSIDERABLE FEELINGS after watching the season premiere of Vampire Diaries tomorrow night. OMG I AM SO EXCITED OK BYE.

Bridesday Weekend, Part II


Happy Tuesday to you all. I’m back with another installment of Bridesday Weekend, the weekend in which I used all 3 days to attend three separate bridal events for my dear friends. And also in which my brain (and ring finger) exploded. Poor Sean.

So as you learned yesterday, my Saturday was spent at Aileen’s amazing Mad Hatter bridal shower (she posted her own recap on her blog, btw, which is much, much funnier than mine, so you should check it out). But Friday and Sunday were reserved for Taylor, my soon-to-be sister-in-law (wow, that’s a lot of hyphenation)!

Friday was spent all all sorts of bachelorette activities… of which I will NOT be showing you photos. This is a family-friendly blog, after all. But Sunday was my second bridal shower of the weekend, and while not Mad Hatter-themed, was still absolutely, positively wonderful. Yet again, I fulfilled my roll as unofficial event photographer, so FEAST YOUR EYES!





Mother & daughter šŸ™‚
Present overload!
Present overload!
Taylor, her twin sister, Kate, and their Mom.
Mini pecan pies… SO DELICIOUS.


There were actually like 100 more photos, but I’m sparing your corneas and just showing you a li’l snippet. šŸ™‚ It’s a little hard to believe that my big brother is getting MARRIED in a little over one month. And then there will be one… heheh.

Whew! So that pretty much wraps up my weekend! So much fun, so exhausting. And there’s no rest for the wicked, since this upcoming weekend is going to be JUST AS AWESOME. I haven’t been doing my customary birthday countdown (what is happening to me?!) but my big 2-5 is this Thursday (as in, the day after tomorrow, squeeee!) and I’ve got activities planned up and out the wazoo!! Allow me to ‘splain:

It all starts with my actual birthday, when Sean is allegedly taking me somewhere he will only refer to as “Taco Bell” whenever I ask him where we’re going. Which, I mean, if he DOES end up taking me to Taco Bell for my birthday… actually, I wouldn’t be that upset. I’ve really been wanting to try the new Cool Ranch Doritos taco.

Friday will be legen–wait for it–DAIRY, because my wonderful friend Ai Rei is coming back to visit me. And the “dairy” is NOT, in fact, a typo, because that night we’re meeting Aileen at The Melting Pot. Worlds will collide with melted cheese present and it shall be glorious!

And then Saturday, of course, is my Quarter Quell: my Hunger Games-themed birthday party. You have been warned.

Bridal stuff. Birthday. Friends. Cheese. Hunger Games. Yep, pretty sure this is the best week ever.

Bridesday Weekend, Part I


3 days. 3 wedding-related events, 1 exhaaaausted Gretchen.

Even for someone as openly in love with anything that has to do with weddings, admittedly, two bridal showers and a bachelorette was a lot for a single weekend. That said, it was obviously completely worth it! I adore celebrating my friends being in love! I took about 80,000 pictures throughout the weekend, but still need to finishing editing all of them, so for today I’ve got a little glimpse into Aileen’s awesome Mad Hatter Tea Party bridal shower!





There was a headband making station. SO creative and so much fun.



I ended up wearing mine the entire rest of the day (including out to dinner, haha).



There were more photos than this, of course, but I imagine that Aileen’s eventual recap of the event will end up being far more entertaining. Seriously, if you guys aren’t already reading her blog, you need to start. Especially if you enjoy laughing out loud and/or animal-shaped kitchenware.

Hopefully I’ll have more fun photos for you to tomorrow — I also finished editing baby Mia‘s newborn shoot so ready your “Aww” face, cause there’s gonna be a heckuva lot of cute up in here.

Fashion Friday: Bridal Shower


I love pretty much any reason to get dressed up. For a concert, a date, a wedding, or one of the many precursors to a wedding: the bridal shower!


As you already know, I attended Anne’s wonderful bridal shower (thrown by her bridesmaids including my own sister, her maid of honor!) last weekend. It was definitely a classy affair so I was glad to have this Jessica Simpson dress on hand. I purchased it on Amazon back in March, but hadn’t had an occasion to wear it yet! I especially love that it came with the belt, which is removable and fully-adjustable so I can wear it with other things, too.


Evidently I’m really feeling yellow right now. In the past few months I’ve bought not one, but two yellow dresses, a yellow tunic-style top, and a pair of neon yellow sandals! Not sure what’s in the water, but I’m definitely digging it. You just can’t help but feel all sunshiney and bright when you’re wearing a color like this, y’know?


Dress: Jessica Simpson on Amazon (same dress still available in different colors)
Shoes: Classiques Entier (similar, similar)
Penelope Necklace: Stella & Dot (similar, similar)
Logo Hobo: Coach
Nail color: China Glaze Beauty & the Beach

Sean and I are off to see Iron Sky tonight, a movie about Nazis from the dark side of the moon. Sounds like a winner to me! šŸ˜‰

Have a great weekend!

A fANNEtastic Bridal Shower

Oh hai! I hope you all had fun and/or relaxing weekends. Mine was definitely a bit of both! My sister (who recently moved to Houston) was back in town to fulfill one of her sacred Maid of Honor duties for Anne: the bridal shower!

The bride making sure the details go on Instagram, hehe.

Anne and her bridesmaids

I’ve mentioned a few times that my older sister (in pink above) is BFFs with fellow healthy living/food blogger, Anne P. The two of them went to high school together, so I’ve actually known Anne for a huge chunk of my life! In fact, her blog is the very one that inspired me to create my own! Knowing her in real life is what led me to start reading her blog, and then I asked my older brother (who helped Anne set hers up in the beginning) to help me get one started too!

Flash forward a couple of years, and Anne and I have gotten close in our own right: we’ve gone to several blogging conferences together and will be both rocking the Healthy Living Summit together in a week and a half, too!

Me, Anne, and my sister!

The bridal shower was honestly one of the nicest ones I’ve ever been to. It was super classy and actually really fun, even though I only knew three other people who were there. It gave me a lot of confidence for my sister’s planning abilities when it comes to my own future, someday bridal shower. šŸ˜‰

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I was happy to volunteer as photographer for the day so that Anne could enjoy the festivities and not have to worry about getting photos in for her own blog. Be sure to check out her own recap post, too!

Antique china and tea set

Lara, Jenny, and Gena


The spread was awesome. The bridesmaids (plus Anne’s mom) did it like a fancy tea party, which meant finger sandwiches (love!), cheese plates, fruit, and tiny desserts.


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My personal favorites of the bunch were these:


Jenny and I made up these mini peach and cherry pies the night before the shower. Making things in miniature is definitely a lot more work, but the result is approximately 83% cuter so I think it’s worth it.


After we had all stuffed ourselves on teeny tiny sandwiches, it was time for PRESENTS!


The bridesmaids incorporated a couple of fun games into the present-opening. One of them was a game of Bridal Shower Bingo, where we were given blank bingo sheets and told to fill it out with all the gifts we THOUGHT Anne would receive. Then, we could cross them off as she opened them!


I guess I must have a knack for guessing housewares, because I won one of the two prizes!


I got these sweet reusable cup with a Starbucks giftcard tucked inside. Score!


The other game was a kind of play on the Newlyweds Game. The bridesmaids had asked Matt (the groom) a bunch of questions before the shower, and Anne had to guess what his answers were. For every answer she got wrong, she had to stuff a huge gumball in her mouth. In the photo above, she’s celebrating getting an answer right, but by the end she must have had 5 or 6 gumballs swirling around in there!

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Totally hilarious.

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I’m not going to lie, I was hit with a serious case of gift-envy as Anne opened her presents. Among them was a Vitamix (jealous!), adorable mugs from Anthropologie, and a gorgeous glass serving bowl from Tiffany! I can’t wait until I have my own reason for my friends to shower me with kitchenwares someday. You’d think that’s a sarcastic statement, but I’m 100% serious. I mean, you guys saw how I reacted when Sean got me a french oven for my birthday. Can you even imagine the sheer amount of glee that will spew forth when I’m in Anne’s position one day? Oh, the dream… šŸ˜€


No present could really top what the bridesmaids all went in on together for the bride-to-be, though. They crafted a cookbook for Anne out of all the recipes from her blog!

Picture from Anne

It’s so, so neat. The recipes are printed out with a photo from her blog, and are organized in sections. It is such a perfect and thoughtful present for her.

The brightest sisters EVER

Like I said, it was a really wonderful (dare I say, fANNEtastic? Hyuk, hyuk.) shower, and I was so happy to be able to be a part of it. Congratulations again, Anne!

Have a great Monday everyone!