Thursday, September 23, 2010

Tallahassee, Chicago, & back to South Florida....

Being a little under 4 months now that we have been living back in South Florida, Mark and I sometimes talk about how much we have discovered and learned about ourselves from living away from it. Starting in 2003 Mark headed up to Tallahassee where I soon followed in 2005. Then, on a late night in February 2009 I got a phone call from Mark asking if I would want to move in with Chicago. His company wanted him up there to help out the Chicago branch and he couldn't decide. I told him that moving to Chicago would be something new and exciting for the both of us to do together, and that I would support his decision 100%.

Mark has always been one of the most hardworking people I know, and one of the reasons I have always admired him-even at a young age. If he would benefit from this move, then so be to Chicago!
As many people know, Chicago was quite the experience for us. I always joke and say that I only liked Chicago on the weekends...and this is pretty much what I stand by! Looking back, my reasoning for this is that I am not much of  the city girl that I thought I would be. I never considered myself a "small time kind of gal" from the countryside just because I was from Florida. Fort Lauderdale and Miami are cities to me, but Chicago is another level of city. I myself didn't enjoy the jam packed train rides, long winters, no parking, and tickets for every violation under the sun! Although it was a lot of adjusting and downfalls throughout the week, Mark and I enjoyed the weekends there with our new friends... We would bar hop through Wrigleyville, had a wide range of places to eat/drink,  enjoyed concerts, and walks through the park down to the Lake. Many of these activities were enjoyed on weekends and in the warm weather - hence my ongoing joke about "only liking Chicago on the weekends." I also liked that the people of Chicago are very friendly. I made wonderful friends there that I miss and wish them well in their futures.
Chicago also holds a special place in our hearts because as much as we missed and wanted to go home at times, Mark and I really began to know each other on a new level there. Many ask if living away from home and attending the same college even gave us the opportunity to grow as individuals and do our own thing, and our answer to that is Yes, I was! Mark and I actually had very different experiences as FSU. He was extremely involved and busy with Kappa Sigma Fraternity and his job at Boater's World. First, as Kappa Sigma's VP and then following as their President, he was ALWAYS building or planning something. I on the other hand, was involved in campus organizations like the Student Government Association, a volunteer organization, and bartending at night. Mark and I did see eachother but it was often with a group of people and not so often as long as we would like.

Chicago was a time where the both of us were under one roof and planned according to one another's schedules. I can honestly say that Chicago took Mark and I to another level. We both loved the fact that we were in it together... Being hundreds of miles away from families, friends, the ocean, and FSU?! - we both realized that we still had eachother to plan and learn new things with.
Now that we have been back in South Florida for the last 3 1/2 months, we have gotten married and started planning what our future will hold. We owe a great thanks to Mark's company and the people of Chicago for giving us a new insight and chapter in our lives that we will both never forget.
Mark and I don't have any regrets and now know that things we do/ don't want in our life together.

For one, we couldn't be any happier right now.

We have our family, friends, ocean, and FSU back! We enjoy having the simple things back and weather we missed so much.
We also hope that the friends we have make similar moves at some point in their lives...whether to L.A., NYC, Chicago, over seas, or just anywhere really...
In our opinion, we are overjoyed to be back but it comes from knowing and experiencing something different and out of our comfort zone. You learn to appreciate the things you have so much more when you don't have them while also gaining new and exciting experiences elsewhere.
Have fun and safe travels friends!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

FSU v BYU 9.18.10

This past weekend, Mark and I drove to Jacksonville and slept at Jared & Jacki Roche's home on Friday night. Not wasting any time, we made some cocktails and started making Mark's amazing Buffalo Chicken Dip. (I'll post the recipe at the bottom of the post)
The next day, we got up around 7am and were on the road by 8am...making one stop to subway to get quick breakfast sandwiches. Just as all four of us walked in, wearing our FSU gameday attire head to toe, we realized the guy behind the counter was wearing a gator's hat. He was not as amused as were were to say the least. It was a great way to start our day ;)
Three hours later, we arrived in Tallahassee. For me, it was the first time back since my graduation in May09. I couldn't wait to get out of the car.
Pulling into to our tailgating spot, running into familiar faces, and realizing that we had all season left, was a great feeling.

After getting to our seats in the stadium, Mark realized that we were sitting next to Eric Bowman's parents. Eric is a Kappa Sigma fraternity brother of Mark and Jared's. The game and company we were with was great. Long story short, FSU won the game 34-10 and we were exhausted.
That was our first home game as new season ticket holders, which means we are excited to have a bigger and better tailgate next week. Our next game is this Saturday in Tallahassee at 3:30pm against Wake Forrest.

The best part about being ticket holders is knowing that you don't have to be sad after the weekend is over because you get to go next weekend  and do it all  over again! Go Noles.
Good times and they have only just started.


4-5 chicken breasts
2 packages of philly cream cheese
1 cup of choppped celery
1 cup of ranch
1 cup Frank's Red Hot sauce
1 package of shredded cheese ( can be cheddar or cheese blend)

Boil the chicken,
Shred chicken with a fork (it's hot be careful),
Place the shredded chicken and add cream cheese into a 12 inch skillet -  heat for 5 min -
Then add in ranch, red hot, & chopped celery
Cook another 10 min.
Then place all the ingredients into a 9x13 baking dish
Bake 25 min on 350 degrees
Remove from oven and sprinkle a generous amount of shredded cheese on top
Bake again for another 15 min
Serve with chips

From our tailgate to yours, hope you enjoy it as much as we do.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

What Game Day means to us...

This weekend Mark and I will be making the drive to Tallahassee for OUR first home game of the 2010 FSU Football Season. We missed the first home game due to our wedding being later that day in South Florida. For me, it will be the first time I have been back since my graduation in May 2009. I CANNOT wait!!!

I feel like it was yesterday that Mark and I got engaged and a week later we were flying to Jacksonville to attend Bobby Bowden's last game as FSU's head coach. After that game, Jared Roche (Mark's best man and best friend) made sure to sit Mark down and make both he and I FSU Boosters and purchase our Season tickets. Not that that it took much convincing for Mark... ;)

We have been looking forward to the drive up with friends, tailgating at Doak Campbell Stadium ( now that we have our fancy parking passes for the stadium!), and watching our Seminoles play. There is nothing quite like the Fall season for us. For Mark and I, it means: the season we fell in love 13 years ago - 10/27/97, our rival high school football games, and now our college football games! We love the weather, the smell in the air, and the energy that school spirit brings.

St. Thomas Aquinas HS (my high school) playing Cardinal Gibbons HS (Mark's high school)

Doak Campbell Stadium is like our cathedral. I know it sounds crazy, and it may very well be... but when we drive by and see Bobby Bowden's stained glass window watching over, it makes us very proud to call it Home. We have so many memories with friends in the days of preparing game day dishes, assembling game day wardrobes, painting each other's faces, waking up to the FSU Warchant blaring through the house on game day, making the "walk over" to the stadium all together while screaming FSU chants, and knowing that rain or shine you WILL stand the entire game cheering the Noles on...

This Friday evening at 6pm we will begin the drive up, stopping in Jacksonville for the night and finishing the drive over with Jared and Jacki Roche the following morning---and I mean MORNING. We will be those obnoxious people in Jared's F-250 blaring the Warchant.
Hope to see you there fellow Noles!!!!

In Seminole Spirit,
Christina McGuire

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Vega-McGuire Wedding

Hi everyone!
I have decided to start a blog for our family and friends that we do not see on a regular basis due to distance and crazy schedules. I will try and post as much as possible to keep everyone up with how Mark and I are doing in our first year of marriage!  Please feel free to leave comments or shared advice/experience in whatever I write about. We would love to hear all about you as well...

To catch everyone up to speed, our wedding weekend started with the Rehearsal Dinner at Blue Moon Fish Co. in Fort Lauderdale. It was a great night where both families, along with the wedding party, were able to meet and spend some time toegther before the BIG DAY.

Me & Bridesmaids at the Rehearsal Dinner

The Groomsmen and Mark at the Rehearsal Dinner

  Wedding Day 
   Saturday  Sept. 4th, 2010

Saturday morning was unusually serene for me. I woke up at my mother's house around 8am, went a grabbed my cup of coffee and headed straight for the balcony. I sat there and basically told myself that this day would go by faster than most and to enjoy and take in each minute...said a little prayer, and went inside for some breakfast that my mother had prepared for me. After I took a shower, packed Michelle Jones', a bridesmaid of mine, SUV with my dress, luggage, champagne, and gifts to be placed in the hotel room later; Mom and I headed to the salon to get our hair done and meet up with Ali Venezia, my Maid of Honor. Salon100 was my very first employer. I was a receptionist for the salon when I turned 16. Being there with familiar faces was something that made me enjoy the morning without nerves...After hair, we went to lunch and later to Neiman Marcus for makeup at Chanel. Mara did our make up and did a great job at that! After make up, we headed to Bahia Mar and started getting dressed for family pictures. The bridemaids met me in the room, where I gave them their gifts which included their matching JCrew necklaces to go with their JCrew dresses, a bottle of wine, a stemless wine glass, and matching bracelets. The bracelets are antique jewelry that was given to me, along with hundreds of pieces, by my grandmother. She has collected them throughout the years, and so I told the girls about this and asked them to keep them close as I do with my grandmother. I wanted all of the important ladies in my life to be linked with a visual reminder. It was a special moment, even under the hurried circumstances of getting ready on time, and I will never forget it.
After this, we all headed down to the garden area where Mark saw me for the first time in my wedding dress! Both he and I became a bit teary-eyed int that moment. I had thought and waited for that moment for a very long time.

Aftter family pictures were taken, I boarded the Floridian Princess and went straight to the bridal suite with my bridesmaids and mother. The time in the bridal suite was a good time as we toasted to champagne, took some fun pictures, and said a few special words to eachother.

Then  Lauren Talchik, the owner of Charter One Florida & event planner, came down to tell the girls it was TIME. As the girls headed upstairs to the top level of the yacht, my father came down to bring me to the elevator. In those moments my dad and I were arm in arm and both very excited, not believing that it was finally happening, and smiling at eachother from ear to ear. I grew up very close and raised mostly by that moment, I was so unbelievely calm knowing that " my daddy" was right there with me. As the doors opened, we tightened up our grip and made that special walk together.
Mark was waiting at the end of that aisle with a smile, took my hands, we said our vows, and celebrated our first moments as Mr & Mrs McGuire.
The reception followed immediately after where we danced to our very first song, "I Do (Cherish You)" by Mark Wills.  Mark dedicated this song when we first started meant so much to us to dance to THAT song followed by another of our songs, "Amazed" by Lonestar. I then danced with my father to "The Way You Look Tonight" & then with my grandfather to the song "Nina a Mujer." I could not stop crying when I danced with my grandfather. He sang the entire song to me as we danced just as he did when I was a little girl. Those three dances were my favorite moments of our wedding...

Dancing, cake cutting, speeches, dinner, and garter and bouquet tossing happened, but the unforgettable moments to me were those unseen in months leading up to that day. Mark, both our mothers, family and closest friends were such a help and made our engagement so enjoyable. I never stressed or worried because I always felt that I was in good hands. Mark and I have come a long way, and nothing was going to be worth anything other than happy times.
- Christina