Flowers, Football and a Wedding. Saturday.

Fall Saturdays make the greatest days.

Mine began at 8:30 a.m., when I took my pillow and blanket into the living room and posted up on the couch for the final 30 minutes of College GameDay.

On this particular Saturday, several friends were in town because an old housemate was getting married. By the time GameDay was over, our house was buzzing and coffee was brewing.

My roommate and I took an impromptu trip to the Eugene farmer’s market and swung by HomeGoods to pick up a wedding gift (even classier than buying the gift day-of: writing and signing the card in the car en route to the event).

Until we left for the wedding, I had one eye on football games and one on getting ready. It was held at the Mt. Pisgah Arboretum, just outside of Eugene. The wedding was perfect: short but meaningful ceremony, great dance playlist and Cafe Yumm! bowls for lunch. (If you’re not from Eugene, Corvallis or Portland, you don’t know what you’re missing. Yumm bowls are my kryptonite.)

If you’re a college football fan, I know what you’re thinking: Who gets married on a fall Saturday? Well, neither the bride nor the groom are huge football fans, and we made it back during the first quarter of Alabama-LSU. Not bad at all. By the time all the evening’s action was in full swing – there was frantic remote-control flipping between ‘Bama/LSU, OK State/K-State and Oregon/UW – we were out of our fancy wedding attire and back on the couch to take in the night games (including a Duck win over UW. Nice try, Chris Polk!).

Fun farmer’s market trip. Beautiful wedding. Solid Ducks victory.

Not a bad Saturday.

Just to humor myself, a few photos from the day (Yeah, I used Instagram. Judge me all you want.):

Unfortunately, I didn't bring any of these bouquets home, but they're a lot prettier than the beets and broccoli I bought.

Yumm bowls and beer. Can't go wrong. (For the uninitiated, Yumm bowls are made with brown rice, black beans, a to-die-for sauce called Yumm sauce, tomatoes, olives, cilantro and sour cream. There are other variations - for example, some people like guacamole or salsa with their bowls - but I've perfected my Yumm preferences.)

A few of the friends with whom I enjoyed the ceremony, Yumm bowls and dancing. From left: Lauren, Miranda, me and Brad.

Feeling the Birthday Love

If there ever was a day to remind you how blessed you are, it’s your birthday. My 21st was on Friday, and it began with the opening of a box my mom gave me when I saw her the previous weekend. She had commanded me not to open it until my birthday, and I was proud of myself for waiting. Inside, I found 21 little birthday presents – one for each year I’ve been alive. It was perfect, and such a thoughtful gift, including everything from a Starbucks card to a bag of dry roasted edamame, the greatest snack in the whole world.

These are the unwrapped versions but my mom actually took the time to individually wrap each of the gifts.

The day was also special because my friend Miranda, who lived across the hall from me at school this year, sent me an edible bouquet of chocolate-covered strawberries. The fact that she sent me food, not flowers, and filled the card with 30 Rock references is probably a good indicator of why we are friends.

There was also a pink princess balloon attached; Miranda later told me that she wanted it to include a Disney princess balloon, but apparently Edible Arrangements only supports generic-brand royalty.

I received one more special delivery; this one, a non-edible bouquet of flowers from my parents (it should be noted that they are now in full bloom and look even more gorgeous than they do here):

Since I know you were wondering, the #1 way to put a smile on my face would be to send me flowers. The smile will be bigger if you also send coffee.

While Friday was the “official” day, Thursday was also filled with some birthday action. We Sports Illustrated PR interns didn’t have to work on Friday, so on Thursday afternoon, one of my co-workers asked me to walk with him to another department on our floor to pick up some magazines. Our final destination wasn’t magazines, but a small conference room where everyone else on the PR team sat waiting with cupcakes, a balloon and a birthday card. I was blown away by their thoughtfulness, especially because I’ve only been there a few weeks.

Also not to be forgotten are the decorations/gifts from my wonderful suitemates. I went out to dinner on Thursday night and returned to find this at my door:

The birthday surprise from my suitemates: custom-made birthday poster, sweets from Dylan's Candy Bar and "21" spelled out in Dove chocolates.

On Friday night, I went out for dinner and drinks with a group of about 10 people. I can’t even begin to describe how lucky I feel, knowing that after only a month in the city, I have that many people who want to celebrate with me. We had a fantastic night – dinner at Hill Country and drinks at a couple places near our building in Midtown. (Don’t get your hopes up; I’m pretty much the least exciting person to go out with in history. I remember every minute of the night, and my drink total only came to 1.25 drinks.)

The birthday crew at Hill Country.

Thanks to everyone who helped me celebrate in person or left me a note via Facebook or Twitter. Here’s to making it a great year!