Cleveland Wedding Photos

I figured I needed to post these Cleveland wedding photos before time got away from me like it usually does. Fourth of July weekend, my family traveled to Ohio to watch my little brother Justin and his beautiful bride Dana get married. Everything was absolutely gorgeous and it was amazing to watch them tie the knot.  Here are a few (several) snapshots from the wedding weekend:

candid & formal photos by Stephanie Cotta Photography

The most stunning bride:

dana bride

Jumpers are so in right now:

steph jumpers

Proud parents:

mom dad

After hair and makeup:

steph mom hair makeup

With older brother Jason:

jason steph

Jackson & Jacob:

jackson jacob

We love our Justin!

SAMSUNG CSC

The Williams men:

williams boys

The Ladies:

steph mama mom

Yoga poses all the time:

dana

The cutest little flower girl:

audrey wedding

Just married:

justin dana wedding1

Cutie patootie:

william wedding

Our little family:

jonny family

Best wedding picture ever:

justin dana wedding

Have a wonderful weekend, friends! xoxo

Puerto Vallarta Wedding

Thanks for all your well wishes on my post from yesterday.  I’m definitely starting to feel better.  Still coughing a lot, but on the mend, for sure.  And when I look back at pictures from the weekend, I can’t help but smile as my brother’s Puerto Vallarta wedding was just absolutely beautiful.  Not just the beach, the ocean, the sunset, but truly the coming together of two people, two families so in love and ready to start this new chapter in their lives together.  While there’s probably over a thousand pictures from the weekend, I’ll leave you with a few favorites to bring a smile to your face on this lovely Friday.

beautiful sunrise, palm trees, & ocean waves

sunrise mexico

jonny, me, & baby itz – LOVE

jonny linz

my dad and poppy – two very handsome, intelligent men – and my little stinker brother justin photobombing in the background

poppy dad

jason & amy’s new blended family with three smiling children

jason amy family

the remaining photos were taken by the infamous Stephanie Cotta Photography

the bride & groom’s first look

jason amy wedding

jason & amy – so happy, so in love, so beachy

jason amy

my wonderful parents who are still so obviously happy and in love after 35 years

mom dad

two gorgeous beach babes

jacob audrey beach

and me with my baby bump during another beautiful sunset

linz beach

plenty more photos to come… including a maternity beach session!

Where’s the most beautiful place you’ve ever been?

What I Miss

Itz been a long week, friends.  And [I think] because of that, I’ve been thinking about what I miss in life right now.  For whatever reason, I’ve had some things on my mind lately, and today I’ll share ’em.  Read on if you will.  🙂

What I miss… My great-grandparents, Grandma Rose and Grandpa Joe.

Rose & Joe

I was lucky to have them in my life for so many years growing up and I have a million wonderful memories of them, but sometimes I still can’t help missing them now.  I know they’re my angels above and forever in our hearts.

What I miss… Running!

Garmin Collage

Oh, I miss running so much, and I think part of it is that I feel like I “can’t” run right now.  I know itz best for me, but I had to stop after I ran my fastest races and truly felt like a runner.  Someday I’ll be back with you, running!  And along those lines…

What I miss… Races!

RW Half

Gosh, I’ve always loved racing!  Whether itz a short distance or a half marathon, I love the friendly competition, I love trying to beat my previous time, and I love the atmosphere of races.  I also love training for races and following a training schedule.

What I miss… Summer days at the pool.

Itz Linz swim

Oh summer, where are you?  I want it to be hot.  I want the pool to be cold warm.  I want to be swimming with my friends and family at the pool!

What I miss… Ice cream!

oberweis birthday cake

Wait, wait, wait.  I had that last night.  Real, full-fat ice cream in the birthday cake flavor.  Oh baby, it was delicious!

What I miss… Bikram yoga!

bikram

Itz been far too long. I need to make this happen.  Soon.

What I miss… Our wedding!

wedding

Our wedding was seriously the best time ever and I’m not just saying that because it was our wedding.  Well maybe I am, but I know a lot of people would agree with me!  At least we have both my brothers’ weddings to look forward to now!

And let’s end on a really happy note… Itz my nephew Jackson’s 5th birthday today!!!

jackson

Totally my nephew… rockin’ handstands when he was just three! Ok, this was really a showing of his “dance moves!”  Details, details.

Don’t forget to check and see if you were the Balance Bar giveaway winner!

What do you miss today?

Itz WIAW: Wedding Weekend Edition

Happy 4th of July!  Itz also time for What I Ate Wednesday, and this month Jenn decided to make the theme, “fun… food… & fitness!” so naturally I am totally loving it.

Let’s do fitness first: I MADE IT THROUGHOUT THE ENTIRE RWRUNSTREAK!  For those of you who are unfamiliar, RWRunStreak was a challenge initiated by Runner’s World to encourage people to run one mile or more everyday from Memorial Day to the Fourth of July.  Many days it was just one mile, but that was one mile more than I would have run normally.  Sure, I would have still worked out, but I loved that this encouraged me to get my running legs back.

Now let’s talk food (and fun!).  Since there was so much good food consumed over the course of my best friend’s wedding weekend, I decided to throw it all into this post.

Saturday morning (aka: the big day) breakfast: Barbie’s matron of honor’s mother delivered breakfast to the house, although it turned out it was more like breakfast, lunch, snacks, food for an army to last for months.  We didn’t go hungry to say the least.  🙂  She picked up tons of food from St. Louis Bread Company, though most of you probably know it as Panera Bread.  There was an assortment of bagels.

And about a bazillion breakfast sandwiches and quiches.

And fruit.  And coffee.  (Lots of coffee.)  And juice.  You’d think there were more than six bridesmaids and one bride, but no, no, all that food was for us.  The bride’s family was also there and ate, as did the matron of honor’s mom and sister.  And the two hair stylists and two make-up artists.  I’m still not sure we made a dent in the food.  It was very much appreciated though.  🙂

Friday lunch:  There was a luncheon on Friday with delicious food!  A menu card was placed on each of our seats which was especially enjoyed by this foodie here.

We started with Chilled Cucumber Soup which was perfect for the hot summer day.

With a pretzel roll on the side.  🙂 The chilled cucumber soup was out of this world!  It was so tasty with a ball of cucumber sorbet in the middle – AMAZING!  It was just a hint of sweetness that added to the soup.  I would love to recreate this although I have no idea how I’d make the cucumber sorbet.  (Suggestions??)  Next, we had our choice of an entre and I opted for the Farmer’s Market Salad with grilled chicken breast.

Solid choice.  Some salads are puny, but this one was not, and you better believe I ate every last bite.  Dessert really takes the cake though (pun intended).  Actually, it was better than cake.

Tartufo: White chocolate ice cream rolled in white chocolate shavings. Served in a pool of fudge sauce.  Ohmygoodnessgracious.  Seriously amazing!  I didn’t need the fudge sauce as I thoroughly enjoyed everything about the white chocolate ice cream and shavings.  So good.

The dinner I’m going to show you is from Thursday night as I did not take any pictures at the actual wedding of food.  I did, however, snap one photo of the menu card as I loved how it showed the St. Louis skyline.

Isn’t it great?  And yes, Ted Drewes was served in place of wedding cake for dessert.  (For all you non-St. Louisans: Ted Drewes is a frozen custard joint that has been around and famous in St. Louis since 1929!  A must-try when you visit the STL!)

Thursday night dinner: Barbie’s family picked up food from Pappy’s Smokehouse – another must-try in St. Louis.  It has been voted best barbecue in St. Louis a number of times, and once you try it you’ll know why.  I’m not a huge meat eater, though I do eat meat on a regular basis.  Ribs are their specialty.

I sampled a little bit everything: ribs, pulled chicken, baked beans, cole slaw, and sloppy joe mix.  And the little bit of everything (and seconds) was amazing.  Pappy’s never disappoints.

To say the wedding weekend was filled with good food is an understatement.  Our bellies were happy and full the.whole.entire.weekend.  We were graciously well-fed every hour of every day. That concludes today’s edition of WIAW.

A reminder from your mother me to please stay safe on this Independence Day!

What are your plans today?  What’s the best restaurant in your town?

PS: Don’t forget to enter the Eco-Friendly Giveaway today!

My Best Friend’s Wedding

As I mentioned in yesterday’s post (GIVEAWAY), this past weekend was jam-packed as my best friend got married.  Here is a little blurb about Barbara (aka: Barbie) from Saturday, but I’m going to give you the rundown of what the weekend entailed.

Thursday:  Like the high-class gals we are, we rode around St. Louis limo-style.

We all had matching t-shirts that read Barbara’s Bachelorette Party with our names and titles on the back.  Mine naturally said Itz Linz.

First stop: Anheuser-Busch Brewery Tour.  AB began in St. Louis in 1952; I’ve lived here all my life, but never toured the brewery!  While I’m not a beer drinker, it was still neat to learn some of the history and how beer is produced.  But in all honesty, my favorite part was seeing the Clydesdales!

There were photographers on site to take complimentary pictures, so we smiled for the camera.

We opted not to purchase the pictures as we all had cameras with us anyway.  However, there was a table of guys next to us at the end who graciously bought the pictures for us.  🙂  After the brewery, we drove around St. Louis and stopped at random places, including the Arch where Barbie was proposed to.

When we returned to Barbie’s home, we showered, scrubbed, and exfoliated in order to prep ourselves for our spray tans.  Luckily, none of us ended up orange.

Friday: In the morning, we got manicures and pedicures before attending a brunch hosted by my mother and one of Barbie’s aunts.

It was a lovely time for the bridesmaids, grandmothers, mothers, and close friends to get to know each other, visit, and eat tasty food.

After the luncheon, we had some downtime before the rehearsal at the church.  The rehearsal dinner was held at Kemoll’s – a banquet hall located on the 42nd floor with a grand view of the St. Louis Arch.

There was more good food, mingling of the bridal party, and speeches were given.  We went home when it ended in order to get a good night’s sleep before the big day!

Saturday:  I woke up earlier than the others and set out to do a short run.  When I came back, Barbie was just leaving the house for a quick run, too, so I joined her for another lap around the neighborhood.  A huge breakfast was delivered courtesy of Barbie’s matron of honor’s mom, and we feasted before our day of pampering.  Hair and make-up artists came to the home while we casually relaxed, drank mimosas, and got all done up!

I loved my updo!  I told the stylist that I wanted a side braid with my hair pulled up to the side.  I knew I wanted to see it from the front and have some body on top.  She was awesome and her skills were confirmed the next morning when my hair was still in tact.

Barbie looked absolutely radiant.  Her hair, make-up, dress, shoes, everything was totally and completely perfect.  It was her day to shine and she sure did!

The bridesmaids didn’t look too shabby either. 🙂

We set off for the church in a limo and tried to stay cool as it was 110 degrees outside!  I couldn’t believe my best friend was about to get married – a day we had dreamed of for the last twenty+ years.

The ceremony was lovely and it was obvious to all that Barbie and Chris were meant for each other.  After a few brief sessions of photos, we went to the Missouri History Museum where the reception was held.  It was an awesome venue and very fitting for the newlyweds.  Jonny and I sat with my parents.

I was honored to be a part of Barbie’s wedding weekend.  Just as she stood beside me in 2010 for my wedding, I got to witness my best friend get married.  I wish Barbie and Chris a lifetime full of health and happiness!

Do you have any good wedding stories?

Foodie Pen Pals: June

Today I am honored to stand next to one of my very best friends while she says “I do” to the man of her dreams.  I’ve known Barbie since preschool.  She was nicknamed Barbie back then, and the name stuck… Until she went to college, but since it’s been 20-plus years of Barbie, she’s Barbie to me!  We went through our entire elementary, middle, and high school years together.  While we parted ways for college, our friendship remained as strong as ever.  Most recently, Barbie graduated from Stanford Law – talk about an accomplishment!

Barbie is the one, actually, who got me started with running.  I was incredibly homesick throughout the beginning years of college, and during one of our phone conversations, Barbie suggested we sign up to run a half-marathon together.  We’d train separately, keep each other up to date on our progress, and meet back in St. Louis for the race.  I had never run a race at that point.  I remember calling Barbie after I did my first two miles, and she was so encouraging that I kept going.  During our race, I tuckered out after mile 6 and needed to walk/run the remainder of the race, but instead of judging, being disappointed, or leaving me, Barbie stuck by my side until we crossed the finish line.  Since then, the St. Louis half-marathon has become a tradition for the two of us, and one that I hope will continue as long as possible.

Me & Barbie at my bachelorette party – July 2010

This weekend has been filled with all the typical pre-wedding bridal party fun: girl talk, manicures, pedicures, hair, and make-up.  I’ll give you a full update after the excitement is over.  For now, I’m off to enjoy this amazing weekend.  But first, let’s talk Foodie Pen Pals.

The Lean Green Bean

This month, I sent a package full of goodies to JayMOO to JayME.  If the name sounds familiar, it’s because you may remember her from this High Five Friday post when I gave Jaimi a high-five for reaching the 100 pound mark in her weight loss journey!  Check out Jaimi’s blog to see what I sent her.  Maren from Maren’s Morsels sent me my goodie box this month.  The first portion was from Lake Tahoe.

Ultimate Malted Milk Balls – dug into those immediately, so good!  A Lake Tahoe bottle of water, post card, and sticker of Cali.  The homemade croutons look really good, especially since they contain only a few ingredients.  Maren also sent me a bunch of snacks.

Chocolate Agave Slow-Burn Energy sounds really good, and I’m excited to try!  Maybe I’ll just have to go on a longer run in order to put this to good use.  The crispy rice bar is thrown in my purse to use as an emergency snack.  The Clif bar Cool Mint Chocolate sounds tasty; it contains caffeine which I’ve never had a bar with caffeine, but it seems like it will be a nice little pick me up.   Larabar – can’t ever go wrong there!  A couple packs of Annie’s organic bunny fruit snacks, too.  Yum!  All in all, I made out pretty well!  Thanks, Maren!

If YOU want to get involved in Foodie Pen Pals (and you should), click over to Lindsay’s blog The Lean Green Bean and fill out the short, simple form here.

Happy weekend!  What’s your favorite bar or snack to throw in your purse?

Lucky Number {23}

Thank you all for your well wishes!  I think they worked (plus all my peace, love, and oils!) because I am feeling a lot better even though I am still a bit congested.  The highlight of my day yesterday was finishing my report cards closing on our house!  Yes, that’s correct… Jonny and I are now officially homeowners!

We got married on October 23, 2010 and we closed on our house on February 23, 2012.  23 must be our lucky number!  I like it!

We were able to go to bed early which was a fun way to celebrate helpful to my little illness going on, and I knew getting in a sweat session before school would do me good.  Today’s workout was arms and abs.  And I did 23 reps in each set.  Kidding.

Week 5 Day 4: Arms & Abs

  • Barbell Curls: 3 sets of 10 reps (30 pounds)
  • *Superset – Overhead Cable Curl: 3 sets of 10 reps (30 pounds)
  • *Superset – Cable Hammer Curls (rope): 3 sets of 10 reps (25 pounds)
  • Alternating Hammer Curls: 3 sets of 10 reps (12.5 pounds)
  • Bench Bar Dips: 3 sets of 15 reps
  • Skull Crushers: 3 sets of 10 reps (20 pounds)
  • Seated Tricep Press: 3 sets of 10 reps (20 pounds)
  • Tricep Push-Down: 3 sets of 10 reps (30 pounds)
  • Air Bike: 3 sets of 50 reps
  • Jack Knife Sit-Up: 3 sets of 10 reps
  • Roman Chair: 3 sets of 10 reps
  • Cardio: 30 minutes (elliptical)

And now for breakfast I am going to cook 23 eggs.  Kidding again.  Just 3. 🙂

Do you have a lucky number?  Are you a homeowner?