Sunday, June 30, 2013

Open Bars and an Open Dialogue

PHEW! Three weekends, three weddings in a row. It's been an absolute whirlwind of a month. In between planning my own wedding, Geo and I have had the privilege of being guests at three other weddings. I don't know what I liked more: appreciating the details of each wedding that others may have overlooked or knowing that I could simply kick back instead of stressing about details. Then again, it was probably all the open bars.

Weddings are brilliant. I love them. I keep forgetting that when I'm 40-some days away from my own wedding and I can't pick a tablecloth to save my life. Everything is complicated and there are 1 trillion options for every little thing and you can't just point to something and be like "I want that." Because whoops! It costs a million dollars and won't work inside your venue and that needed to ordered 3 weeks ago, but this needs to come from that vendor and where I sign up to get my punch in the face?

So I was struggling with some decisions and expressing myself to Geo (or as he calls it, "complaining"). It's been a particularly grueling phase of planning lately, so I had been spending a lot of time doing that. He kept being like "I think it's normal to be this stressed out all the time. Planning a wedding is hard." But I dismissed this as a "Grooms don't know anything" comment. So then this weekend, we got all dressed up and went to the last wedding we have before our own. It was my friend Mitch's wedding and it was FANTASTIC, you guys. And the best part of it happened before I even had my second butler-passed appetizer.

I was standing at a cocktail table (which, for the record, I have no memory of what color tablecloth was on it) and I met another girl. She said she was also getting married. Like two weeks after us. So I go "OMG, are you SO excited..." and she totally rolled her eyes before I finished with " be at someone ELSE'S wedding?"

The biggest grin I've ever seen slipped across her face. She was like "I am SO GLAD you added that last part! I have been SO SICK of people asking me if I'm excited for our wedding and all I keep thinking is 'No I'm not excited, I'm miserable.' Do you ever feel like that?!" I nearly wept for joy. I was all "Yeah, it's horrible. My family is probably going to disown me and if I never another chair cover, it'll be too soon." We both looked at gift tables and place cards and napkin folds with the same mix of exhausted scrutiny and appreciation. We both admitted to calling off the wedding at least a few times and spending more than a few nights crying and waking up in a cold sweat from a wedding-related nightmare. I felt vindicated. I felt like I was not the worst person in the world for struggling so much with this process...or if I am, I'm not alone.

It's very weird to realize how much of wedding planning is based on other people. You think "It's just about me and my soon-to-be spouse. That's all that matters." But it's not. Not always, at least. And I had gotten used to feeling like sharing the experience with other people was nothing but a challenge. But on that night at that wedding, it was suddenly a very good thing to have a new person to talk to about everything. A comrade. An ally. A fellow blushing bride-to-be who knows that it's never as easy as it looks.

So yeah, that was just great. Then I hit the open bar and the dance floor and it got AMAZING.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Tree's a crowd

I have to write this from my iPhone because I simply do not have the strength to pick up my computer. So this post will be short and probs full of typos.

Why am I so drained? I'm glad you asked. 

So my brother had some problems this weekend. We had a huge storm in the Cities on Friday night (which, thankfully, Geo and I missed because we were in exotic South Dakota for a wedding) and loads of super huge trees were blown down. Like, roots the size of, uh, giant roots were ripped from the ground. Foundations of garages peeled out of the ground. Cars were smashed. 

And two of these trees - count 'em TWO - fell onto my brothers property. (And yes, this is the same brother who had his house broken into. I'm bringing over one of those smudge sticks to clear out the bad juju from that place.)

So tonight Geo and I went over to help clean up. We met my brother-in-law, my other brother and my parents at the center of the earth, a.k.a. my brother's house. Here they are in the front yard:
YIKES. Here's what I THINK is their back yard:

So we showed up today and helped clear some stuff out. My expectations were low. I am lazy and showed up wearing white and cropped yoga pants. And I kept being terrified that a bat or a rat or, like, a troll was going to pop out of the downed branches. But we all worked our butts off. Proof:
And finally we ended up with this:
The tree in their back yard was all chopped up and dragged out. We were all hot and gross and cut up from carrying the branches. 

Plus I was really trying to show off for the guys so I ended up carrying pieces that were WAYYYY too heavy for me. My wrists are all sliced up from the bark and I look like I need to check myself into some sort of psych ward. 

But? We did it! Hooray!! Yay for us! Lets celebrate! Zzzzzzz...

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Weeee!! Threeeee!!!

You guys!? UM...HELLO?! It's Pharon Square's third birthday!!!! Hooray!!! I will assume your gifts are in the mail...

So, last year, I'm sure you'll remember that I threw a totally amazing birthday party for my blog. This year, I had a different approach. See, I've been neglecting my blog over the past year. I've been too focused on myself and the dumb wedding that I've completely ignored the blog on some nights. I've hurt my blog's pheelings by only thinking about myself, making my blog feel unimportant, and like my blog was nothing more than a hassle. I know my blog has really been pheeling sad about it, so I wanted recommit myself by treating my blog like it should be treated.

It's a spa birthday party!

First, we had a delicious and healthy spinach salad to start of the luxurious day of pampering:

Then we had crisp and refreshing cocktail:
I could already tell my blog was starting to relax and forgive me. My blog even made a clever joke about binary code during the manicure:
We decided to get a little crazy and go for a total makeover when it came to the hair. It was supposed to just be a trim and blowout, but it ended up like this:
I loved it. It's bold and fun and brave, just like my blog. Anywho, in between services, my blog and I flipped through some gossip mags:
And then it was time for the massages!
My blog was so tense! All that stress and anxiety has really taken a toll on my blog! After the massage, my blog was even more relaxed. But then my blog got MORE relaxed:
Now, the one thing I neglected to do was get my blog a birthday cake. We're trying to watch our girlish figure in this house, so I had to improvise:
Yay! A Bagel Thin with fake candles in it and a tube of icing!!! What's better than THAT!? It really seemed as though my blog had forgiven me for how neglectful I have been. Especially after:

So I'm pretty sure we'll all good now! Plus, my blog met someone as she left the salon, so I'm pretty sure that my efforts to throw a bada$$ third birthday paid off in a major way.
Happy birthday, Pharon Square! 

Monday, June 17, 2013

Chaos Emeralds

You guys, what is HAPPENING?! Everything is all nutso and crazy. Chaos. (Sonic the Hedgehog shout-out in the title, ya'll! Anyone? Bueller?) Anyways. In a very short period of time, people have continued to have things happen in their lives that are not centered around me and seem to have bumped up against each other thing. Rude, right!? Here's a quick rundown of the past week or so:

* Geo got offered - and accepted! - his dream job at Mayo Clinic
* My sister Padrin just went to the hospital last night for what doctors are "90% sure" is an appendicitis and she had to have surgery
* My other sister Prinna moved into a brand new spankin' house
* My awesome friend Ally moved back from Mexico to Minneapolis all preggers and not fat
* We have three weddings three weekends in a row AND my family is all going to a cabin during one of those weekends...without me!
* Oh, and? My niece Annabelle lost a tooth

It's a lot for a girl to take in. Especially an overly-panicked worry wort like yours truly. As one of five children, I've always been aware that the world does not revolve around me. And as much as I try to change it, people will continue to have things happen that I cannot control. (RUDE.) But I gotta say. People have GOT to stop experiencing important life events without getting approval from me first.

So, here's what I'd like to have happen going forward. If you are going to get a job, have emergency surgery, move, get married, get pregnant or lose a tooth anytime soon, let's check it out with me first. I can put together a very helpful spreadsheet for everyone which will make all the chaos more organized and coordinated. I will have a column for each event and a row for each person. Then, I'll filter the rows based on timeliness and prioritize each event after cross-referencing it with my Pretty Little Liars schedule.

How does that sound for everyone? Good? Great.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Eat It

You guys? I've been DWELLING since my last post. I've been haunted in my dreams by bad dining experiences (like the time I found a hair in my omelet the very first time I went to Ember's - which, according to sources, is a real restaurant). Now, I have zip plans to turn this into a food review column, but when my friend told me "Oh man, I'm so glad you saved me from going there until they get the kinks worked out." I feel like I've helped people. And I'm nothing if not helpful.

So I just want to do a quick follow-up on my last post by offering a review of a place I actually LOVE. I've been there twice now and had brilliant experiences both times. And it's also relatively new.

Tonight Geo and I hit up Red Cow in Edina because he wanted a beer after a long day of interviews and liquor stores in Edina close at, like, noon.

Red Cow is a new burger place. But, like, a FANCY burger place. Like, fancy enough that I changed out of workout clothes, but not so fancy that I had to shower first. It fits this great balance between having a diverse and exciting menu and not being a-holes about it. The first time we went here, the (presumably) owner of the place stopped by our table and asked how we liked the food. Was it cooked well? How was the beer? What did we think of the truffle fries?

At that point, I wiped the drool from my chin and tried to muster up appropriate praise. "Ughm, it's SO GUD." Much to Geo's disappointment, I then licked a drip of their sauce off the table. What can I say? It was Gud.

We went back tonight so Geo could eat and have a beer (two areas in which I have been desperately pathetic in providing) and it was just as great. First? The girl corrected my pronunciation of the wine without being a dick about it. She did it like super subtly and in a way that I was like "Ooh, it's a LONG 'A'...I'll remember that next time." Not like "Oh my God, I'm going to kill myself because I can't pronounce a French word." It was refreshing.

I know the food there is absolutely drool-worthy, but I have a weigh-in tomorrow, so I opted to drink my dinner tonight. Geo, on the other hand, decided to give his arteries a run for their money. He ordered the poutine. Hey, um, quick question. Has a women EVER EATEN poutine? It's French fries slathered in gravy and cheese. DELICIOUS. But not okay for for a girl to order and then eat alone in her apartment while watching Maury Povich reruns.

I digress.

So Geo orders poutine, I get my wine and I spend the whole night pulling my fingers away from the plate of amazing. Somehow, our waitress has managed to show up seriously at only the moments RIGHT BEFORE we realize we need her. She was like a sorceress. And then she casually poked fun at Geo's request for a Coors Light. I was in love.

 The atmosphere was tops. The burgers? [Wipes drool off of face] GREAT. The service? Seriously, it's some of the best I've ever had in my life. If the owner wasn't checking in, the all-star waitstaff was.

And I wouldn't care if their burgers were $80 and a down payment on my first-born child. Red Cow has the goods to back it up. It's clear that they want me to be a regular. Which I will be. Both Red Cow and the other place I talked about last time are equidistant from me (I've never used that word before, BTW) but they couldn't be further away from each other. One place thinks it's better than everyone else and the other place is all "Meh, we're cool. Come on in and we'll knock your socks off."

Have I alienated enough of you yet? Two posts about local restaurants in a row? I know it's not great for the out-of-towners, but I gotta say, I think I've found my calling. Look forward to more restaurant reviews in the future. There's this little authentic bistro I've been wanting to try for a while called Bruegger's that I would LOVE to try...

Monday, June 10, 2013


Tonight Geo came back into town and we decided to make the most of this lovely weather by going to a new restaurant. We met up with my brother Perek and his wife Leah for what we THOUGHT would be some laughs, a few drinks and some apps. We showed up to the new place, which was relatively unassuming and only like BLOCKS from my house. I was like "Yay! A new regular hangout!"

Um, if you ever see me there again, SHOOT ME. Or, you know, just steal my wallet and poop on my face because that's what it felt like happened tonight.

It's called T3RZO. We liked the L33T speak part of the name and the fact that it was opened by another restaurant that we love. Plus, it said "WINE BAR" so I was sure I would love it. Now, caveat! It's super new so hopefully they'll change everything about it in time for it to not fail. Especially after MY scathing review.

The place was small, but had good parking. Probably because no one was in there yet. We walked in and were led to our table where Perek and Leah were already waiting. When the waiter approached us, we had a zillion questions. "What are Boards? Why is everything on the menu, like, PURPOSELY vague yet still misleading?" But Leah had the most important question of all. "What wine do you recommend?" The guy was all "What do you like?" And she said, "Um, pinot noir, something lighter, not super sweet and...oh yeah, like less than $10."

She had read my mind.

The guy makes two suggestions which made sense and fit the criteria and then a third which he was really selling hard. I figured that he had taken our stipulations into consideration before making his "helpful" recommendations, so I chose the last one. It was NOT under $10 a glass. It was NOT "not super sweet" and I had gotten the last glass in the bottle with some tasty sediment in the bottom of the glass. It was a $50 bottle of wine that everyone hated. HATED.

After we realized he had suggested something way out of the budge, we had to alter our food choices. We couldn't understand a damn thing about the menu because it just listed different animals (for cheese) and like 100 different ways of cooking frog legs. Puke. We chose a few things that we thought were safe and enough for two couples to enjoy. Some bruschetta, a fancy mozzarella and some "really delicious" meat. Here's what we got:

In case you can't tell, that's a piece of bread with 100 pounds of mushrooms on it, 6 half-slices of deli meat, two slices of a carrot, 1/4 of a cauliflower head and a hunk of mozzarella with olive oil on it. Even a woodland rabbit who sidled up next to me was all "This is garbage."

The problem was, these tiny bites of food were stupid-expensive. And if they had been the best things I'd ever eaten, that'd be a different story. But the mushrooms were cold and flavorless and sat limply on top of soggy bread. The meat was needlessly tough and chewy. The carrots and cauliflower were....I don't know, I didn't want to spoil my appetite by eating things I already knew I hated. The cheese was good, but so is the kind that comes in brick form.

On top of it, waiter dude kept coming over and asking how everything was. How do you tell someone that nothing you have ordered has even come close to warranting the price printed next to the needlessly vague and Italian-y sounding description on the menu? Plus, he was really awkward with us. Probably because he had sold us on a bottle of wine that was way out of our price range and had served us cold food in servings fit for a tiny fairy. No wonder he couldn't make eye contact with us.

So $100 later, we were all still hungry and thirsty and dying for something that even SORT OF resembled a good meal. I came home, poured a glass of wine from a bottle that cost me $6 and nibbled on some Laughing Cow cheese which was just delicious.

Anyways, folks in Minneapolis, I would stay away from T3RZO at least for now. Now, I'm not some chick who thinks that I can get a delicious meal for $5 or anything, I just like to get what I pay for. If your cheese platter is $50, I will come back again and again if that cheese is $50 worth of delicious. But all I got at this place was cold food, bad service and sedimenty-wine. It's pretty dumb and pretentious and overpriced for what you get. I shudder to think what I'd get if I ordered off their highly-pushed seafood menu.

That does it for this edition of "Pharon Talks about Phood". Join us next time, won't you?

Sunday, June 9, 2013


Well, it is truly amazing what a person can get done from the comfort of their own bed. Allow me to elaborate as I can now consider myself an absolute expert in the art form. After working late on Thursday night finishing all the wedding invites, mailing them on Friday and having an impromptu dance party with my pals Claire and Kelsey on Friday night, I was on a roll. Geo was gone all weekend, so I wanted to keep tackling tasks.

But, like, I didn't want to get out of bed to get it all done. It was a dilemma I started struggling with around 11:30 on Friday night, so I took the initiative and did some preplanning for the weekend.

I put two bottles of water next to my bed, plugged my computer in put it on my nightstand and made sure I had all my most important remotes within an arms reach. I was ready for Saturday.

I woke up to a totally dreary day, making it completely acceptable to spend it in bed. I rolled around for 45 minutes or so before I got comfortable enough to start the day. Which I did by selecting the 2nd season of Arrested Development on Netflix. I flipped open my computer and started checking things off my To Do list.

I caught up on the news/ I did some online shopping for bridesmaid gifts. I paid some bills. I sent out some lives to people on Candy Crush Saga. I started booking hair stylists for the wedding and looked into some honeymoon destinations. I spent some quality time on Reddit.

In between shopping for shoes and learning how to do a cool new braid, I realized I had made a huge rookie mistake. I was hungry. Very hungry. I had plenty of water but nothing of sustenance within reach. I was up to my neck in cozy blankets and my head had made the perfect head dent in my perfectly stacked pillows, and I did not want to get out of bed/take a break from work. I had to get creative.

Now, if you're like me, you have a random bag of granola bars/candy/breath mints that have accumulated since Christmas. And if you're ALSO like me, you keep this bag in your empty suitcase under your bed. In case of a sugar-level emergency. This was one such emergency. I leaned out of bed and pulled the suitcase out, grabbed the bag and I feasted on Riesen candies, a granola bar and 3 or 4 mints for dessert. Disaster averted.

After all my work and my very satisfying "lunch" I was sleepy. Luckily, I was in bed so I just took a nap. I woke up, rolled over and did some research on Pinterest about place cards, all while continuing to make my way through Arrested Development. I'm nothing if not a multi-tasker.

But eventually, the laying down started messing with my head. I kept feeling like I was moving, but I obviously wasn't. My leg started twitching. I started googling Bed Sores. My glasses were making me dizzy and I ached for my contacts, which were all the way in the bathroom. Speaking of bathroom, all that water was not helping anything. Oh, and try as I might, I could not find a way to get a bra fitting online (which I needed to do before getting the violently aggressive undergarments for a wedding dress) so I knew I needed to do something drastic. I had to get out of bed.

I thought about it for 45 minutes or so before I decided that yes, I needed to get out of bed. In, like, another minute or two.

An hour later, I woke up from a second nap and resigned myself to getting out of bed. I literally rolled out of bed and onto the floor - which yes, hurt very much - and then crawled to the bathroom where I turned on the shower and finally started my day. Just in time for dinner.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Aiiiiiiiiiiiiirball! Aiiiiiiiiiiirball!

Geo wants me to rename my blog. He thinks it should be called "Pharon Square featuring 'The Wild and Wonderful Geoffrey'." I was pretty sure THAT was the worst idea of all time until he started spitballing some "blog ideas" at me.

All of his horrible ideas had to do with basketball, and more specifically the Miami Heat. He was all "You could write about Lebron James. Or Dwyane Wade. Or how good the Heat is and how they made it to the playoffs and they'll totally win."

There are a couple reasons that these were all bad ideas. First and foremost, how many people actually write a whole blog about one stupid basketball player? (Answer according to Google: 101,000,000.) (Also: I do realize that my last two posts were each dedicated to a celebrity far less successful than James.) But secondly, they were bad ideas because I hate basketball. Wanna know why? I'm glad you asked...

Basketball is dumb because the most exciting thing that could happen is that a person does NOT score a point. Has anyone else figured out the fact that scoring should be difficult, hence the reference to it being a "goal" in other sports? Am I crazy?

Secondly, there are a BILLION POINTS scored every game. ONE BILLION. So like one second the game is 23 to 25 and the next it's one billion to one million. Who can keep up? More importantly, why would anyone spend the whole game watching when it really only comes down to the last couple minutes? It's like Law and Order: SVU. You check in at the beginning to see who's playing, and then you can totally zone out for the three-quarters of the show because you know the final twist doesn't come until the last 15 minutes.

Finally, writing about basketball is dumb because I do not get it. Even though I was a basketball cheerleader for 2 (count 'em TWO) seasons in high school, much of the game's purpose was lost on me. I thought traveling meant moving your feet without dribbling. I thought double-dribbling meant alternating hands while dribbling and couldn't understand why that would be bad. I don't understand why some guys get two free throws and others get three. I used to think that white men were incapable of dunking, AND I thought you could wear the same pair of shoes for more than one game.

Anyway, that's why it would be dumb for me to write a blog about basketball.