Trippin’ with Molly

8 Sep

Molly and I missed each other, so we decided to take a trip together because that is truly the natural course of action. Since we do, also, like other people, we decided to make it a solo trip that involved others along the way (semi-solo trip).


Oh, heyyyyyy!


To kick it off, I flew to Minnesota for a gorgeous stay in her childhood home. It felt like we were in a treehouse during a rainstorm AND we got to hang out with her parents, Betsy and Dooey.  I played tennis with Dooey who figuratively and literally schooled me (once he beat me, he graciously gave me lessons on serving). 

We also visited with cousin Lainey and her two wonderful children, during which time, I, as per Collin’s Theory*, re-decided I would like to have 5 children of my own.

*Collin’s Theory: Scientifically based, mathematical, foolproof formula which proposes that every time I see well-behaved children I want some of my own. 

(Sammi + Well-behaved Child = yes please, I’ll take 5)

After seeing my future, Molly and I went to go get froyo at a place called Cherry Berry, which sounded more like a chapstick flavor than a name for a froyo place (or any kind of eatery). We didn’t get cherry or berry flavor, and we also avoided the cotton candy flavor because PRO TIP: If you get cotton candy flavor, no matter what your second flavor is, it’ll also taste like cotton candy (note: this rule also applies if you just get cotton candy flavor and no 2nd flavor but who would do that?).

Unbeknownst to us until it was happening, we took our froyo to the corner of a busy intersection and danced on the side of the road while we ate it. #LivingOurBestLives

And maybe it was because we were cold from the froyo, or maybe just because it’s a great froyo pairing, we got some matching socks from Target after finishing our treat. Afterwards, we went to see a movie, but first I “buried the lead”  in the one we chose not to see. The movie that we DID see was that Bruce Springstein one called Blinded by the Light. When the credits rolled, we whispered, “Do you like Bruce’s music more or less after that..?” 

The next day, we took a family visit to the cemetery and then Mol and I rented a small car for our roadtrip. Where they tried to give us an “upgrade, a bigger car using more fuel?? NO THX. 

In the car, we talked about things you say as you hang up the phone to prove your integrity (i.e., “She’s such a nice girl,” but before the phone is put down). Unrelated, Molly told me that “the Jewish part of me is a boy”.

Car ride mood:  Sorry, I can’t hear you over the same Bruce Springstein song.

The first stop on our road trip was Culvers.  We got some custard and butter burgers and then….. The next stop was La Crosse, Wisconsin to MEET BABY BEA!!!!!!!



When Bea met Sammi.





Sammi + Well-behaved baby Bea = yes, please, I’ll take 5+5


Now I want 10 babies!!!!  Bea is the most perfect baby I have ever met. I love her!  She has that sparkle  — you can tell how special she is!  And while Bea was the star of the show, we were also there to hang out with Bea’s mom aka my best friend aka Colleen aka Col.

We stayed at Colleen’s house and had dinner with Colleen, Ben, and Bea. We’d brought Colleen the coolest, sensitive plant (#wewereobsessed) that curled up for the night. And for dessert, we’d brought froyo (BYOFROYO). While distributing dessert, we found out that Ben’s first job was at Cold Stone, so he flavor-profiled our choices and added graham crackers to the table to make our froyo experience more decadent.  Yum!

It was such a fun night, and later at bedtime, I talked to Col (but boyfriend Col, not Mama Col) over the phone and belly laughed until I cried.


Bea wearing a BEE shirt?! Are you kidding me!?!!!



3 Peas in a Pod.


The next day, we did role reversal and instead of 3 men and a baby, we performed 3 women and a baby (and Buffy) as we drove to see Colleen’s mom, Mary, at the lakehouse. 





We hung out at the house for a while, I got to chat with Mary’s husband, Paul, and get a tour of the new, awesome garage (con-garage-ulations!).  Mary graciously watched Bea while Molly, Col, and I went kayaking on the lake. We didn’t get very far, but we had tons of fun and shared stories about other water experiences. We wanted to talk (and succeeded) but at the expense of coordinated kayaking; we ran into each other for the sake of good conversation.

After our amazing visit with Mary and Paul, we drove Colleen, Bea, and Buffy back to Col’s house and said our “see you laters.”

…And then Molly and I were back on the road!  We stopped in Madison to pick up a new backpack for Molly, which she wore like a second skin.  I was so excited to be there for the moment #LoveAtFirstZip.

We had way more time than we realized in Milwaukee, which, we discovered “seemed like a city with no money but had personality.” -Molly-waukee.

We learned that Megan the Stallion was playing.  We didn’t hear her show but we did see all of her fans dressed up just how we like ‘em.


The next morning, we had a great food order:


A feast for our eyes!


Followed by a Lime scooter ride that took all of my concentration.  Not featured in this video— the lake.

Finally, before heading to the airport, Molly and I found the best cream (seriously) and returned the rental.  Once at the airport (here we come, VEGAS), we sipped on some strong coconut water while I read a lengthy Taylor Swift article.

We got picked up in Sin City by Zach, a friend and the producer of The Ringmaster– a movie that Molly had co-directed with her boyfriend, Dave — AND, the movie we were in Vegas to see premier!!! (Hi Zach!)



Hangin with the (film) crew


Zach was so nice!  We stayed at his house (THANKS, ZACH) — and said “never mind” to the Airbnb we’d booked.  

On Friday, we visited Puppy Town (wondered if the Chinese restaurant next door eats them after they grow up). We lied– or maybe told half-truths– in order to play with the puppies. I said I wanted two because you had to say you were going to buy one if you want to play with them. The truth is, I really do want two…



Sammi+ well-behaved puppy = yes, please, I’ll take 2.



The next day, we prepared for the premier by eating a breakfast of champions at a diner named Blueberry Hill. In honor of the name, we got a blueberry muffin, amongst other things.



The perfect order, if we do say so ourselves.


That afternoon, Molly’s boyfriend Dave, aka the co-director, drove in from LA with our friend Chris to meet us for the premier. (Hi Dave and Chris! See you soon :))

And that night, we headed to the Cinemark movie theater where they were holding the Silver State Film Festival!!




On the way!


Before the Vegas showing, the Ringmaster had one other premier in New York, where it did really well. There’d be another one in Ohio, where I’d go and meet Zach, and then another one in LA and two in Minneapolis. QUITE a well-traveled movie.

Anyways, this Saturday night premier was SO COOL. It was at The Orleans hotel and had a red carpet!


Honored to be part of the entourage– #Hontorage


The Cinemark theater was nice —  it had reclining seats AND sold popcorn.  The candy that we snuck in was a big hit, but not as big as the movie, which WON THE AUDIENCE AWARD FOR BEST DOCUMENTARY AT THE SILVER STATE FILM FESTIVAL. NO BIG DEAL.



And so it begins…


After the movie, Chris and I had a hankering for onion rings (Zach, Molly, and Dave weren’t affected anymore since they’ve eaten the best ones in the world). So we all went downstairs to Friday’s (the American embassy) to grab some grub.

The next morning, Molly and I went with Pace for a solo run (to work off those onion rings) and then had a hang while we waited for everyone to wake up so that we could go for all-you-can-eat sushi. I wandered away briefly, tried to keep it together, and then ate all I could eat.

The group then headed to Planet 13! And we happened to see the drones but then later found ourselves in another celestial realm– the COOLEST (biggest) gem shop ever!  It was amazing– the colors, the temperature, the textures!  Everything about those crystals was mesmerizing.



After staring for so long, this crystal was like, “Take a picture, it’ll last longer.” So I did.


I felt like being impressed some more…so it was suggested that we go and visit some dolphins. Everyone was down, because… who wouldn’t be?  It was a great idea-olphin!

When we pulled up at the hotel, I knew JUST how to help. Still strapped in with a seatbelt, I opened my car door and yelled (to the valet):  “WHERE ARE THE DOLPHINS?!”



…more like DolphFUN


Here’s what I learned:  Dolphins are a matriarchal society, and that in this particular aquarium, they have 15 dolphins and over 50 staff.  We saw a baby, a momma, and a grandmother.

While we were there, we also saw a human girl who had a relationship with each individual dolphin, a biblical Siegfried and Roy making a tablet proclaiming they were Noah (weird) and a couple of actual lions (beautiful). 

Beyond the movie premier, the aquarium was a highlight. And so were the gems (I’m referring both to the crystals and my wonderful friends).

For dinner, we went to a DELICIOUS vegan restaurant because after watching the dolphins how could we not think that fish are friends.  The meal was out of this world good. Chef Kenny prepared spicy crispy “scallops,” “sea bass,” and a magical sushi “steak” roll.



Dave & Chef Kenny


It was an all-you-can-eat kind of day. So we did it twice.

At the end of the trip, we said our goodbyes, and I thanked Zach PROFUSELY for everything he’d done and all his hospitality!! (THANKS AGAIN, ZACH)! And I headed back home, where Collin picked me up.

When my hunny had dropped me off at the airport, he said he wouldn’t finish the water bottle I’d given him until I was back with him.  I didn’t think of it again until I landed and he reminded me about what he’d said…before he finished it right then and there.

My flight was an overnight one…and I slept zero winks.  It is so exciting to go away and it is so exciting to come home.  I landed at 7am and took a nap in Collin’s arms.

Thank you to Molly, Col, and Zach for a wonderful trip!

Ringmaster ‘mi

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