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Our Amazing Wedding and Incredible Honeymoon in Germany – Because Racecar!

July 12, 2012

Exciting news – Erik and I got married! It’s true, this is my first post as Ainsley Jacobs. 🙂 The wedding itself was a blur, but it was an amazing weekend and I hope to never forget it.

We started things off on Friday, June 8, by picking up the tuxes for the boys, my rental jewelry (“something borrowed”) as well as my wedding band (talk about last minute!) from the jewelers, then we ran a few more errands and headed down to the Ritz-Carlton, Atlanta to begin our weekend. We checked in to the hotel and were immediately greeted with champagne and smiles – nice! Our suite was HUGE and there were even more goodies waiting there for us – chocolate covered strawberries and more champagne! We unpacked, met up with some of the bridal party and headed down to do our rehearsal which was actually a lot of fun. The rehearsal itself was pretty easy in that it was just “who walks/stands where and when” but it was a good occasion to relax and have fun before the craziness began. Afterwards we had a few minutes to get settled into the hotel and then ran off to Max Lager’s Wood-Fired Grill & Brewery for our rehearsal dinner. We were joined by about 30 of our closest friends and family and spent the evening relaxing, drinking delicious beer, eating amazing food and being excited about the next day’s festivities. The event space at Max Lager’s is really neat; it’s a private area overlooking the street outside but also features the massive copper brewing kettles used to make their own beer, and it’s so interesting! Everyone was commenting on how good the food was (most opted for the southern fried chicken and pecan caramel brownie, of course) and really enjoyed themselves. When the dinner was over, we returned back to the Ritz and tried (unsuccessfully) to get some sleep before the big day.


Me and my amazing bridesmaids!! I love these girls!
Click here to see the rest of the rehearsal dinner photos!

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The morning of Saturday, June 9, we slept in a little and got started around 10am. The hair/makeup team responsible for beautification of me and my girls arrived at 10:30am, at which point Erik was banished to go hang out with his groomsmen. Me, EJ (Maid of Honor), Alyssa, Sarah, Cori, Alana and Jill spent the morning goofing off and being silly while the team worked their magic and got us ready. An awesome Chick-Fil-A lunch was delivered courtesy of the boys (thanks, Dan and Seth!) and we even put on wonderfully silly My Little Pony press-on tattoos – mine was white and the girls had pink (thanks to Alyssa for bringing them), of course! Around 2pm, once we were all finished and looking great, our amazing wedding coordinator Daria and our mind-blowingly incredible photographer Nadia showed up. I was ushered into my dress and my ladies helped with the finishing touches like my shoes, garter and necklace. Once they were dressed as well, we headed down to the hotel lobby to take some formal photos and then I was escorted to a more private area where Erik and I got to see each other for the first time. He looked beyond handsome in his tux and I’m pretty sure he thought I looked beautiful, too. 😉 It was a really cool feeling seeing him, knowing that in just a few hours we would be married. We spent the next few hours snapping more photos with just us, with the bridal combined party and with our family. Then, it was time to begin!

The first event was the ketubah signing at 5:45pm, which was done in a private room with just a few witnesses and our rabbi. Once that was done, it was time to REALLY get started. Our guests had arrived and were seated in the ceremony space. At 6:15pm, the wedding began. Erik was escorted down the aisle by his father, our mothers walked together and then it was my turn. The doors opened, I focused on Erik and everything around me disappeared. I had to remind myself several times while walking down the aisle that I should slow down and enjoy the experience (LOL) but I was so set on getting to my future husband that the rest was a total blur. We stood under the chuppah, surrounded by our most amazing friends and family and tons of love, and listened as Rabbi Coffsky performed the ceremony. He said a lot of beautiful things, but the most beautiful to me was when he pronounced us husband and wife. Our first kiss was amazing, and it was even funnier when the rabbi said he “could keep talking if we wanted to keep kissing”, which we did! Ha! And with that, the string trio started playing and we made our way up the aisle together!


Erik and I enjoying some alone time shortly after saying “I Do”.
Click here to see the rest of the “behind the scenes” wedding weekend photos!

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After the ceremony, we said hello to some friends, took even more photos, and got to enjoy our first few minutes as Mr. and Mrs. Together in private, where we were served hors d’oeuvres and champagne while the guests enjoyed their own in the cocktail hour space. Once the clock hit 7:45pm, it was time for the reception to begin and our guests were invited to enter the main ballroom which had been converted into the most beautiful wedding space I had ever seen. We made our grand entrance and proceeded into our first dance which was a foxtrot to The Ramones’ “Baby I Love You”. We had spent weeks taking dance lessons from our fabulous instructor Kathy at All About Ballroom and had been doing really well, but unfortunately we couldn’t practice with me in my giant dress and I spent most of the time trying desperately not to trip or slip or fall or otherwise make a fool of myself. Erik was a hero and saved me a few times, leading the dance wonderfully. We survived, and enjoyed a lovely dinner afterwards but didn’t get to eat much since we were so busy walking around saying hello to everyone! Then, it was time to party! The dance floor opened and everyone had a blast. Some fun wedding night memories include: presenting a “Farthest Distance Travelled” award, car show style, to Tomas who flew in from Sweden, a special dance with our mommies to “You Are My Sunshine”, being absolutely terrified yet exhilarated while up in the air in the chair during the Hora, and us almost accidentally pushing the cake off its stand during the cutting – oops!! We also had a photobooth present which was a huge hit and people were playing in it all night, which resulted in a really hilarious wedding memories scrapbook/guestbook at the end of the night! Speaking of the end of the night, we had the Ritz bring out delicious mini grilled cheese sandwiches before we called it quits, and then made our grand exit out of the ballroom and up the stairs to the escalators while our friends and family hurled rose petals at us and waved pretty pink streamers.


The newlyweds playing in the photobooth!
Click here to see the rest of the photobooth photos!

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Once we were finally in our suite away from the craziness around midnight, room service delivered two huge cheeseburgers and fries, and a bottle of champagne, so we could finally have dinner. And it was *delicious*. I hadn’t eaten dairy for about 7 months prior to the wedding (it makes me break out) so I was beyond excited to have cheese, as silly as that sounds. When we finally decided to fall into bed, we found that it was not only covered in beautiful rose petals in the shape of a heart, but that the Ritz had given us lovely pillowcases monogrammed with our new initials as a surprise!

Overall, the wedding was beyond incredible and I can’t imagine having had a more perfect day. Our friends and family are incredible and we are so indescribably fortunate to have such amazing people in our lives. Being surrounded by that much love was exhilarating. Everything was beautiful beyond belief and went off perfectly – I still can’t believe it happened!

The next morning, we slept in and woke up, enjoying the fact that we were now Mr. and Mrs. Jacobs. We met up with some of Erik’s family for coffee in the hospitality suite, said goodbye to other family members and friends, and then had a big breakfast at the Atlanta Grill restaurant in the hotel. We packed up our van with all of the wedding stuff (decorations, turbochargers, gifts, clothes, etc.) and headed home, where I made Erik carry me over the threshold into our new house. That evening, Seth brought over two amazing Pizza Hut Stuffed Crust pizzas for dinner and I was ecstatic – I had been desperately craving one since I realized I had to quit dairy! Ha! Monday we spent the day running errands, returning borrowed goods and then met up with Tomas and Scotty for lunch and burgers at Ann’s Snack Bar, followed by dessert at Morelli’s.

Tuesday we loaded up the Subaru with luggage and drove down to the airport where we boarded our flight! Since Erik and I met through cars, we thought it was appropriate to go to Germany and do a motorsports-focused honeymoon. We flew first class and were amazed by how surprisingly good the food (and the service!) was. We landed in Stuttgart on the morning of June 13, picked up our rental car (a black 6-speed Audi A4 TDI wagon which we named “Helga”) and tried to figure out how the heck to get the GPS to speak in English. We failed, and spent the next week listening to directions in German. (I even learned a few words… it’s pretty fitting, though, that I learned German from a car!). We dropped our bags at our first hotel, the Pension am Heusteig, and hit up the Mercedes-Benz museum. The museum itself was incredible with an unbelievable amount of historical displays showcasing everything from the first internal combustion engines to modern racecars featuring the latest in technology. A quick nap was needed afterwards to help alleviate some jet lag symptoms, and then we took a walk down to the Königstraße (“King Street”) which is essentially the shopping/tourist hub of Stuttgart. We stopped for our very first German pretzel (so yummy!) and explored the local sights. We then spent some time in the Schloßplatz admiring the amazing architecture and historical buildings, dating back many centuries. We got stuck in a surprise rainstorm which actually wound up being quite beautiful and romantic, and then headed over to a restaurant called Vetter where we had local Swabian-style food for dinner.


One of the beautiful fountains in the Schloßplatz.
Click here to see the rest of the honeymoon photos!
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The next morning we checked out of the hotel, played on our first speed-unrestricted section of the Autobahn and arrived at LegoLand! The place was practically empty, which worked to our favor, and we wandered around the park acting like children and riding cheesy Lego-themed rides. A quick lunch when we were done and we got back on the road to drive to Munich where we checked into the Hotel Mariandl. After ditching our luggage, we hopped on the subway (“U-bahn”) and made our way to the Englischer Garten where we enjoyed the amazing green space. We walked through the beautiful park and found the spot where the surfers hang out (yes, surfers in Germany. There’s a section of a river in the park that creates a wave and surfers gather to ride it) and caught part of a football (soccer) game in one of the huge outdoor Biergartens by the Chinesischer Turm (“Chinese Tower”). We then took the U-bahn to the Marienplatz (city center) and found our way to the world-famous Hofbrauhaus for dinner. That place itself was amazing, and after we finally got a table we ordered a pretzel and a beer that was literally as big as my head, along with actual dinner. Considering it was touristy/bar food, it really was pretty good but the overall experience of being there and the crazy stereotypically German atmosphere was the best. We stopped for a quick dessert at a small gelato stand afterwards (I had Ferrero Rocher flavor) and then called it a night.


Ich liebe Bier! WOW!
Click here to see the rest of the honeymoon photos!
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For our second day in Munich, we visited the BMW Museum which was amazing! They had some truly unique displays and exhibits and we had fun learning about the company’s history. Once we finished up there, we went back to the Marienplatz to explore it better. We even were lucky enough to catch a show from the Glockenspiel! The architecture of the buildings was incredible, and we were amazed by how much history was just out in the open for people to touch and see up close. Next we visited the Viktualienmarkt (open-air food market) and tried some samples from local vendors, then had a refreshing lunch at the Löwe am Markt. After refueling, we hopped back on the U-bahn and then onto a street car before arriving at the amazing castle, Schloss Nymphenburg. We got there about 30 minutes before it closed, but still managed to get in a quick tour of the interior. I couldn’t believe how different it was seeing stuff that usually is found in a museum in its natural environment – it made it so much more interesting! The property of the castle itself is breathtakingly gorgeous and the gardens stretched as far as the eye could see. As evening started to approach, though, we headed back towards the Marienplatz (with a quick stop to see the Sendlinger Tor) and found a restaurant, Wirtshaus Ayingers am Platzl, where we had a romantic dinner. We had hoped to get a good night’s sleep, but unfortunately the Hotel Mariandl had booked a very, VERY loud birthday party in their ground floor restaurant that went until 4am and, despite repeated calls from us to management pleading for help, did not quiet down. It was a simply awful night, but if that’s the worst that happened during the trip then I guess it really wasn’t that bad.


The amazing Glockenspiel Rathaus in the Marienplatz.
Click here to see the rest of the honeymoon photos!
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The following morning, we checked out and geared up for our daylong roadtrip to explore the Romantische Straße (“Romantic Road”) which wound its way across the German countryside, through many old cities and highlights some really beautiful stops. We followed the road for several hours and loved the scenery, but eventually got hungry and stopped at a McDonald’s for lunch. We wanted to see if it was the same as the ones back home, but other than them serving Bubble Tea and having a slightly more upscale interior, it really wasn’t all that different. Our final stop on the Romantic Road was a town called Rothenburg ob der Tauber which is a tourist-friendly city that has been around since the middle ages and has preserved its history very well. We took a carriage ride through the city, explored many of its old buildings and even the city wall, then wound up meeting two locals at a restaurant and enjoyed a beer and some pretzels with them! When it was finally time to leave, we got back in the car and drove to Frankfurt where we spent the night in a Marriott, which may sound boring but after the horrible night before, the American-style and guaranteed quiet was a very welcome change. Dinner was at a local restaurant called Pielok and we got to try apple wine (along with a real German apple strudel) for the first time.


One of the beautiful homes we saw in Rothenburg ob der Tauber.
Click here to see the rest of the honeymoon photos!
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On Sunday, we hopped in the car and cruised over to the town of Mombris where we met up with Burkhard and Doris from Wanderreiten im Spessart and were introduced to their beautiful Andalusian/Quarter Horse crosses, Sultan and Chetan, who we would spend the day riding through the Spessart (“Woodpecker”) forest. The trail ride itself was beautiful and we enjoyed the scenery and sights. After 2.5 hours, we arrived at a local restaurant, Schluchthof, where we tied the horses to a hitching post and ate lunch. Erik even had wild boar that came from the very same forest we had been riding in! When lunch was finished, we mounted back up and rode another 2.5 hours back to our guides’ home, where we untacked and fed the horses. Just when we thought the day couldn’t get any nicer, we were surprised with a beautiful dessert/picnic table spread that our hosts had provided for us! Doris was excited that we were on our honeymoon and even got special “Love Bird” napkins, which was so incredibly cute and thoughtful. She had baked us an apricot tart and made fresh blueberry muffins, served with fancy tea and champagne – it was so lovely! We hated to say goodbye, but had to get back on the road so we could be ready for our next adventure. A few hours later we arrived at the Guesthouse Fuchsröhre where we got situated in our room (named after Senna) and went to bed so early it was still light out (although in our defense, it was 9pm… it just doesn’t get dark until VERY late in Germany in the summer).


Cute ponies!! 🙂
Click here to see the rest of the honeymoon photos!
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Monday morning we got up super early, excited to get the day started. We had a quick breakfast and then drove over to the RentRaceCar location where we picked up our toy for the day, a race-prepped BMW Z4 which we named “Gretchen”. We also met up with our instructor, Martin, and went over some of the logistical details for the day. Why? Because we were going to drive the NURBURGRING!!! When all the details were taken care of, we drove over to the track and immediately got started. I went first and was SO nervous because I had never, ever driven on a road course before and was now about to attempt to drive the most difficult, challenging and intimidating track in the world. Yep, I’m crazy. But, thankfully, we had opted to drive on a day in which the track was closed to public traffic and only available to those who had signed up for the private track day, so that helped a lot. What was my saving grace, though, was having Martin in the passenger seat acting like a rally co-driver, dictating what I needed to do and when. The Nordschleife is 12.93 miles long and consists of 154 turns. Martin literally talked nonstop and gave me fantastic directions. He would say things like “fourth gear, flat out, over the crest then turn right and aim for the fence” and I had no choice whatsoever to do as I was told. It was AMAZING. Apparently I did pretty well (he said I had gotten about an 11-minute lap and considering he has driven thousands of laps at the Ring himself, I trust that’s fairly accurate) and I was just proud that I didn’t die. 🙂 I did four laps in total, as did Erik. Unfortunately for Erik, he started to get very nauseous and we decided to call it quits for an hour while we had lunch at the on-site Devil’s Diner. After lunch, I did a fifth lap with Erik in the passenger seat instead of Martin, but had to go very slow to keep my new hubby from barfing. I had hoped to drive more, but by that time the track day had ended. Overall, though, five laps on the Nurburgring isn’t too shabby! After what can only be described as a “you’ve got to experience it to understand it” experience, we stopped at the ring*werk for souvenirs and to play in the amazing, fun and motorsports-centric Nurburgring Museum. I still can’t believe how much fun we had, how fortunate we were to have had this opportunity, and that we’ve now conquered the Green Hell!


Erik and I with our fantastic instructor, Martin, at the Nurburgring!
Click here to see the rest of the honeymoon photos!
http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10100267600398556.2365796.10503411&type=3&l=5ab993a669

The next stop on our itinerary was a much-needed relaxing night in a castle. Yes, a real castle. We drove to Oberwesel and arrived at the Burghotel Auf Schönburg, a historical site which was first mentioned in records back in the 900s! Despite us being hot, sweaty and Erik still being slightly nauseous, we were able to enjoy the castle and spent a few hours exploring the gardens and surrounding property. Everything was picture-perfect gorgeous and very, very romantic. As the sun started to set, we got cleaned up and found a beautiful table for two awaiting us on one of the outside dining patios, overlooking the Rhine River. Dinner was an incredible 6-course meal, complete with a fabulous bottle of wine from the castle itself. Between that and the Nurburgring adventure, I couldn’t have imagined a more perfect day and am so grateful to have such a wonderful husband to plan things like this for us!


The new Mr. and Mrs. Erik Jacobs, all fancied up for a special castle dinner.
Click here to see the rest of the honeymoon photos!
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Tuesday was our last full day in Germany, and after we said goodbye to the beautiful castle, we drove to our final destination: Dusseldorf. My former riding instructor, Miriam, happens to live in the city with her new husband and so we arranged to spend the day with her! We met up at her stable to see her super-cute new horse, and then headed over to the Wildpark, a nature preserve where you can touch, feed and interact with the wildlife (specifically, deer) and then to the Galopprennbahn am Grafenberg, the local horse racing track. Then we hit up the river walk area and had dinner, followed by even more dinner as we tried our first currywurst (weird!) and had dessert. After a long day, we crashed with Miriam at her apartment and stayed up all night talking and catching up. It was SO great to see her!

Unfortunately, our trip was quickly coming to an end and we woke up painfully early in the morning to make it to the airport in time to catch our flight back to the States. More tasty first-class food and 8-9 hours later, we arrived safe and sound back in Atlanta. When we finally got home, we were exhausted but ecstatic and were even happier to see that my amazing Maid of Honor, EJ, had left a super-sweet surprise in our living room to greet us! 🙂

Overall, the entire experience was nothing short of amazing. From the rehearsal dinner to the wedding itself to the honeymoon and beyond, it feels like a dream. I can only hope that our future together as husband and wife holds as much fun, adventure, excitement and love as we experienced over those two weeks.

NOTE: our actual wedding photos haven’t been posted yet, but you can check out a preview gallery here in the meantime!

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The Last Entry Before the Wedding!

June 4, 2012

Well, this will be my last post before the wedding and I have a lot to recap, so it’ll be a long one.

April was a super-fun month with a lot going on. My BFF EJ and I celebrated our annual friendaversary with a trip to Atlanta Rocks for some indoor rock climbing action. The boys came, too, and totally showed us up but we still had a great time and I rediscovered my fear of hights near the top of one of the walls. LOL.

The following weekend I drove up to Charlotte, SC to attend the NHRA Pro Mod race at zMAX Raceway with Precision Turbo & Engine. I walked the pits for three days taking photo and video of our PTE boosted racers and loved every second of it. They ran the Top Fuel and Funny Cars four-wide which was absolutely amazing to see in person and I’m so thankful that I have a job where I get to do what I love. It was also great catching up with some of my friends who I only see at events, so that was another plus!

A few days later was my 28th birthday and Erik took me for a lovely trail ride at Fruition Farm. We had a picnic lunch and enjoyed taking it easy for once. The next day we hit up the Georgia Renaissance Festival with a huge group of friends and wandered around watching the entertainment, eating turkey legs and doing other general renaissance-y things.

On the first of May, I had my hair and makeup trial (which was a trainwreck, to put it mildly, but I can elaborate on that another time) and then Erik and I got our cars and headed over to Road Atlanta for our engagement photo session with Nadia D. We had the track to ourselves which was truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience and got to take some really fantastic photos. We got them back recently and were blown away at what an incredibly talented photographer Nadia is! Check out the complete album at http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10151144906203642.550602.97681703641&type=1 to see how they came out!


Click to see the rest!

Also in May, the girls arranged a bachelorette party for me and we had a blast! They planned an entire day-long funfest and I was so touched by their thoughtfulness. The day started off early with EJ and Jill presenting me with some traditional bachelorette party goodies: a pink sparkly bachelorette sash, an awesome “Future Mrs. Jacobs” tank and a bunch of other fun odds and ends. We then hit the road for a morning chair dance class at SpinArella which was incredibly fun and somewhat embarrassing, which made it all the more hilarious! After that we cruised over to Angel Nails for some mani/pedi action, then hit up Verde for a quick lunch snack before making a pitstop back at home to get changed and cleaned up before dinner. Our original dinner plans were foiled due to it being Mother’s Day weekend AND prom (ugh) but a quick decision to change to Goldfish worked in our favor – the food was yummy and drinks were delicious. Once dinner was done, we headed to our final spot for the night: Happy Karaoke for some drunken singalongs. Overall, it was a pretty epic day and I am so thankful have such wonderful ladies in my life. I love them more than I can put into words!


Bachelorette Party sexy ladies! Click to see more of the craziness.

We also hit up the Southern Worthersee event in Helen, GA last month and it was a great time as always. This was my fifth year going and I’m still amazed at how huge the show is – there were over 2,000 cars in attendance this year! Plus, the yummy German food and awesome fudge makes it a worthwhile trip, too. 😉

Everything with the wedding is pretty much done at this point, except for some miscellaneous odds and ends. I had another hair/makeup trial which was significantly better than the first. We still have to pick up my wedding band, meet with the DJ, have our final dance lesson and pick up the menus/programs/etc. Then all that’s left is to pack and head down to the Ritz! I’m so excited!! 😀 Next time I post here, I’ll be Mrs. Erik Jacobs. Wish us luck!

Racing, Riding and Wedding News

April 6, 2012

Well, another few months have gone by and as usual, my life has been a nonstop whirlwind of craziness and adventure.

Back in February, Erik and I drove down to Valdosta for the “Night the Lights Went Out in GA 3” drag race at South Georgia Motorsports Park. I was there to work with Precision and sell gear in our super-awesome fancypants booth, and, despite some pretty atrocious weather, we had a spectacular weekend! I love SGMP and it was a great kickoff to the new racing season, despite most of the weekend getting rained out.

In March I found out that one of my favorite bands, The Casualties, were playing here in Atlanta. I used to go see them all the time when I lived in New York and was really excited. Then I got the news that a good friend of mine who I hadn’t seen in 10 years was also going to be at the show! I upgraded from really excited to super excited and had a blast hanging out with Deuce and Rick. The show at the Drunken Unicorn was awesome – they played a great set, we sold a ton of merch (I was helping) and I totally felt like I was 16 again. Good times. 🙂

Riding has been okay lately, but not great. I’m really loving my new trainer but I’m still having confidence issues. I wasn’t expecting it to take me this long to get over that accident… I’m not at all comfortable being this wussy! It just may be me subconsciously being afraid of getting hurt so close to the wedding, through – I really don’t want to go down the aisle on crutches! LOL

Speaking of wedding stuff, I’ve had a few dress fittings so far and they’re going well, but I’m still waiting for the shop to finish up a few small changes and now that we’re just two months away and I haven’t gotten any real updates on its progress, I’m starting to worry. Last weekend we met with our florist to go over some of the d&eecute;cor details, etc… We had our menu tasting/selection at the Ritz this week and everything was fabulously delicious. We both went home painfully stuffed and feeling confident about what we chose. I’m excited for our cake – it’s going to be so yummy!!

Similarly, back in February, Erik had taken me over to Ascot Diamonds to have me custom-design a setting for the solitaire engagement ring he proposed with. After a few rounds of CAD revisions, the ring was finished and I went in to pick it up. To say it’s incredible is the understatement of the century. It’s absolutely gorgeous and everything I could have hoped for. I’m beyond in love with it (and Erik!) and can’t stop playing with the dang thing because it’s so ridiculously sparkly! Yay!

This past weekend, my unbelievably awesome girlfriends through me the best bridal shower ever. They decorated everywhere with pink and glitter and pretty things. We had a delicious taco bar dinner and then played some pretty silly and very fun shower games. The first one they had conspired with Erik to get very difficult questions about his life that I had to answer and for every one I got wrong, I had to put a half a gumball in my mouth. I did not do well. LOL. Another good one was the “stick in the hole” game where teams of two girls were blindfolded, spun in circles, and then given a roll of toilet paper and a stick. One girl had to put the stick between her knees and try and get it into the “hole” of the toilet paper which the other girl was holding between her knees. It was HILARIOUS and actually pretty difficult! Then it was time for presents and ice cream! We finished off the night with the always-fun “make a wedding dress from toilet paper” competition. Overall, it was a great night and I am so incredibly fortunate to have such amazing ladies in my life. I’m so thankful to have them!! ❤


Me and my amazing Maid of Honor, EJ, at my bridal shower on March 31, 2012. To view all the photos, click this link: http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10100177260874686.2354275.10503411&type=3&l=a5bd0cb2e3.

Holidays and General Life Updates

February 22, 2012

I keep putting off updating this and putting it off and putting it off because I’m so busy with a million other things (work, the wedding, life, etc.) but I feel like the more I put it off, the more it stresses me out because then more time has gone by and there are more events to write about! Ack!

So Christmas was nice, although now it was so far ago I can barely remember what happened. I know we did the typical movie-and-Chinese-food thing but other than that, it eludes me. I had taken the following week off from one of my jobs so it was nice to be working a normal 40-hour week instead of the 80 I’ve been doing for the past year or so. We had a party at our house on New Year’s which got a little crazy but hey, that’s kind of the point of a party, right? The next morning we went out for our traditiona IHOP breakfast with a bunch of friends and I think it’s a great way to start the new year, being surrounded by loved ones and all.

January was a blur of work and general craziness. I started riding with a new trainer at Huntcliff towards the beginning of the year and I am really loving her. I’m still absolutely terrified of falling off and getting hurt again since my accident back in November and consequently my confidence is completely and totally gone – I used to be a badass and now I’m such a baby. She’s great about working with me though (ie: tolerating me crying for no reason) and is really encouraging. I feel like she’s helped me to make a lot of progress but I know there’s still a very, very long way for me to go before I can ride like I used to. Oh well, at least I’m on the right track!

Erik surprised me with a very, very lovely Valentine’s day. He sent a gorgeous bouquet of roses to me at work along with the sweetest note ever, then I came home to find him all dressed up and we went to a wonderful dinner at one of our favorite restaurants. On top of all of that, he got us a gift certificate for a fun trail ride and picnic, once the weather warms up! He’s the bestest. 🙂

Things with the wedding are going well. We’re now 3.5 months away and everything is still going smoothly. We have a few final details to figure out and some small projects to work on (not to mention actually sending the invitations, ha!) but otherwise things seem to be all set. Erik’s got the honeymoon planned and booked which should be really awesome. I had my first wedding dress fitting this past weekend and other than the alterations lady accidentally pricking her finger and bleeding all over the back of the dress (woops!) it fit perfectly! They assured me they will get it cleaned, though, and considering we still have plenty of time I’m not at all worried. If this is the worst thing that happens during the wedding (and planning) then I think I’m pretty lucky!

I’ve also been trying to pick up some more freelance motorsports clients so that I can start to make that my primary focus. If you (or anyone you know) knows of someone who could use some marketing, communications, or social media help – please send them my way! I have a whole long list of services that I can provide and I promise you I am pretty freakin’ awesome. Check out http://www.ainsleyhyman.com for proof.

Holidays, Weddings, Our Anniversary, Racecars, and Riding!

December 19, 2011

With the year winding down, I thought I’d do one last post to recap the last couple of weeks.

Alyssa and Cori flew in from Philly in November so that we could join EJ, Sarah and Jill for a bridesmaid dress shopping weekend o’ fun! Alana couldn’t make it but was still a part of the selection process. We actually wound up finding a really pretty dress in the perfect color that all the girls agreed on at J. Andrew’s and I’m really excited to see them all in it on “The Big Day”. I love my ladies so much and I’m so honored that they’re a part of our wedding.

As I mentioned in my last post, I separated my shoulder in a horseback riding accident and was in a tremendous amount of pain. After about two and a half weeks, I was still very miserable but had healed enough to go and play polo again with Leslie, Erik and Sarah. Erik had never played before and hadn’t been on a horse in well over a year, so it was really cute watching him struggle a little but he did surprisingly well overall! It was my first time back on a horse since the accident and I’ll admit, I was nervous as heck but the polo ponies at Polo Bear are so well broke that I was cantering around trying to hit the ball in no time and was too busy having fun to realize I was scared!

Erik and I spent Thanksgiving in New York with our families, as usual. I was especially glad to be able to visit some friends while we were up there and I even got to ride a zebra at Indian Head Ranch! We also went up to GPNY for some killer gokarting which would have been a lot more fun had I actually been able to focus on driving instead of not barfing in my helmet thanks to the insane amount of food and ice cream we had pigged out on beforehand… LOL. Good times, though.


Here I am riding a zebra. Yes, it was awesome.

We attended the 2011 Performance Racing Industry (PRI) trade show down in Orlando, FL with Precision Turbo & Engine, which was a ton of fun as always. Despite the fact that I have to stand in a convention booth for three days non-stop, it’s SO much fun because I’m surrounded by some really amazing people and I get to talk about racecars all day – awesome. We debuted a lot of exciting new products at this year’s show, too, and I’m excited to see what the next year has in store. I also wound up meeting some really great new friends and reconnecting with some long lost old ones!

Other notable events from the past month and a half include: Ray & Betsy’s rowdy wedding (congratulations, you guys!) here in GA as well as Caio & Michelle’s wedding (congrats to you both as well!) which also included a fun weekend roadtrip up to Charlotte, NC. We had a super-yummy “Girls Only” potluck holiday dinner which was a blast, too! I feel so lucky to have such a great group of girls in my life. Our gun club’s (GPSL) holiday party was this weekend and it was nice to see those guys again, especially since I’m usually riding on the nights that Erik shoots so I don’t get to hang out anymore.

On December 9th, Erik and I celebrated our 7 year anniversary; it’s amazing how quickly the years have passed. He surprised me by picking me up early from work, blindfolding me and driving me to a “secret location” for my “surprise”. It turned out to be a private jeweler and he let me custom-design a setting for the solitaire engagement ring he proposed with back on August 12, 2010! It was an amazing experience overall and very surreal. He’s such a great guy – I think I’m the luckiest girl in the world. 🙂 Afterwards we headed downtown to go see Cavalia’s Odysseo show, thanks to some amazing tickets from our very sweet, very generous friend Jonathan. We ate dinner and had cocktails in the tent before the show which absolutely blew my mind and then toured the stables after to see all the beautiful horses that starred in it!

Speaking of horses, last week I had my first lesson since the accident. It had been 6 weeks and I was surprised at how weak my shoulder still is/was. I’ve lost a lot of strength and conditioning (and, to be perfectly honest, almost all of my confidence) so I’m not quite sure how I feel about riding at this point. We’re getting a new trainer tomorrow (this will be my 5th in just 10 months… ugh) and hopefully I can start riding strongly and well again. I’m sick of dreading something I used to love so much. *fingers crossed*

Adventures in San Francisco, Randomness and Accidents

November 9, 2011

Not that it’s necessarily a bad thing, but I feel like my life just keeps getting busier and busier and crazier and crazier. I don’t even know where to begin! I guess chronologically is good, though.

Back towards the end of September we celebrated the end of summer by attending the Stone Mountain Chili Cook-Off for the second year in a row. Just as we had remembered, it was delicious and a great way to end the season. We ran into some friends, ate some good food and wandered around in a meat-induced stupor. What’s not to love?

The following weekend we attended our first (and last) autocross of the year with the Atlanta Region SCCA. I wish we could have done more because they’re SO much fun but we were just so busy that the scheduling didn’t work out. The Miata really needs shocks/tires/brakes/etc. so it’s kinda scary to drive it as-is, but I still enjoyed it. I drove in E-Stock Ladies and given that I was the only driver, I placed both first (and last) for my class! Ha! I suck, but I’m sure I’ll improve eventually. Speaking of Miatas, I met a random guy in the parking deck of my work who happened to also be a Miata/autocross enthusiast. Small world! I’m always up for meeting new friends, too. 🙂

October 7-10 we spent in San Francisco, CA for Erik’s friend’s wedding. Despite having lived in Los Angeles from 2004-2006, I had never been to SF before and was super excited to finally get to visit. We did lots and lots of tourist things and saw pretty much the entire city in a span of just a few days. Our adventures started when we walked into our hotel room to find that the Blue Angels were practicing right outside our window! Apparently it was Fleet Week and we had a great, albeit unintentional, view of the air show.

Our first night in town Erik met up with some clients at a local bar for a happy hour and I found out that one of my good friends who I hadn’t seen in almost 10 years was living nearby. We got together and it was so absolutely wonderful catching up with her. I love you, LoLo! Afterwards Erik and I dined at a restaurant that we had been wanting to try for years – The Stinking Rose. It’s a garlic-centric restaurant and while the entrée itself wasn’t as good as I had hoped (I had the “40 Clove Garlic Chicken”) the garlic wine was interesting and the garlic ice cream was freakin’ incredible! Anyway, we got back to the hotel later that night and were super tired from the jet lag and excitement of the day but our plans for sleep were interrupted by the hotel’s fire alarm going off at 11pm (2am “our time”) and had to evacuate. Turns out that it was a false alarm but it definitely added to the craziness of the trip.

The next day was Saturday and Erik and I walked down to China Town to get lunch and explore before the wedding. We found a yummy Thai place (Banana House), a Toyota commercial being filmed and even a Chinese dragon celebration in a park (I got to wear the dragon costume, somehow). The wedding itself was beautiful and we had a great time seeing Jenny and Jim tie the knot. Congratulations to them!

Sunday we decided to do as many tourist things as possible and hopped on the bus to go down to the pier. We couldn’t get on a tour of Alcatraz because it was sold out from Fleet Week, but at least I got to see it from a distance. We walked around and saw the sea lions before finding an open-top bus tour to take us around the city. We saw most of the major landmarks: Haight/Ashbury street, the Painted Ladies and then stopped for a bit at the Golden Gate Bridge. It was all so pretty! After the bus tour we walked up the back of Lombard Street (or, as I call it, “Squiggle Street”) and down the front. We randomly came across an Italian Heritage Day parade complete with ponies and then had lunch at In-N-Out! At that point it was getting late so we hopped a cable car (so cheesy and clich&eecute; but yet so much fun) back to the hotel and went to dinner with another of Erik’s college friends at a really excellent local Italian place. All in all the trip was fun beyond words and I am looking forward to going back!


Erik and me at the Golden Gate Bridge

View the complete “Adventures in San Francisco” album: http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.895605437466.2326505.10503411&type=1&l=46ccd0123c

The very next weekend Erik and I drove down to Valdosta, GA for the “No Mercy” Radial Revolution event at South Georgia Motorsports Park with Precision Turbo & Engine. I got to spend the weekend playing photographer and loving on some pretty serious racecars. It was hot, tiring and a total blast.

Two weekends ago we celebrated Miss Jillian Kuhn’s birthday and Halloween with a super-fun 20s-esque/flapper-style murder mystery dinner party. We all dressed up and had character roles that we had to play which was really cool!

This past weekend I was supposed to go play polo with Erik, Leslie and Sarah but Blue threw me at my riding lesson on Tuesday and I bashed my shoulder really badly; he started bucking after landing a jump and there was just no way in hell I could hold on. In 19 years of riding, that fall was the most painful I had ever had. I was lucky in that I didn’t break anything but I knocked my head really hard and saw stars. My shirt got torn up and I was all bloody… turns out I had a separated shoulder. Ugh. It was excruciatingly painful to move or do anything so I asked EJ if she would take my place at polo. She agreed, but later that night I got a phone call from her and all I could understand were the words “Grady” (a hospital), “emergency room” and “car accident”. Erik and I turned the car around and headed straight downtown.

We got there around 9pm and sat in the waiting room for an hour until they allowed me in to see her. Turns out she had been walking home from class with a friend (who is 8 months pregnant) and a guy in an SUV literally ran them over! EJ got thrown up onto the hood/windshield and the awful, horrible person driving the car actually sped away, leaving them there in the middle of the street. It’s a miracle that neither of them were killed. EJ, fortunately, didn’t have any broken bones nor any internal damage, just a ton of cuts, scrapes and severe bruises. We stayed with her in the hospital until about 3:30am at which point we went home to sleep. Early the next morning I got a call from the hospital that she was being discharged so I went and picked her up, then we just flopped around my house all weekend being gimpy and miserable together which was surprisingly fun. Oh and in case you’re wondering what happened with polo, it’s been postponed. 😛

Adventures in Alabama, Wedding Dress Shopping and an Earthquake

September 19, 2011

When I was 14 I got trampled by a horse. I wound up fracturing some vertebrae in my back and compressing a few disks. I also hurt my ankle really badly and was told at the time that I had partially torn a tendon. I’ve had back/ankle problems ever since but never went to the doctor because when I initially had the accident I was told there wasn’t anything that could be done to help. Lately I’ve started to notice some changes in my ankle which kind of freaked me out so I decided to finally go to the orthopedist and get it looked at. At the time of the appointment, I was so absolutely furiously livid with how awful the doctor was that I couldn’t stop ranting. Now, several weeks later, I’ve calmed down to the point where I don’t care to rehash the entire visit but I do want to say that the doctor I saw at Southern Orthopaedic Specialists was such a complete and total dickhead to me that I absolutely, positively do NOT recommend anyone go there. Ever. They were AWFUL. He didn’t listen to a word I said, focused on another area than what was hurting me, implied I was fabricating the entire story/pain and refused to even acknowledge anything pertaining to a tendon injury. After 45 minutes I was so upset that I literally just got up and walked out. If anyone wants more specific details I will be happy to explain further but if you need an orthopedist in Atlanta, do NOT go to SOS!!

Anyway, on to more fun stuff, like the earthquake we had a few weeks ago. I’ve always wanted to feel an earthquake; not a major, catastrophic one like Northridge, but just “a little tickle” sort of shimmy. I lived in Los Angeles from 2004-2006 and never once felt anything. Well, I was sitting in a conference room on the 18th floor for the monthly meeting at the advertising agency that I work at and I felt this weird shaking… They’re building a new highrise next to our building and there have been a few construction mishaps since we moved here so I thought maybe they had hit our building or something. When it didn’t stop I looked around to see if anyone was jiggling their leg against my chair and realized the blinds were moving… wait, what?! I was totally confused. Then someone suggested it was an earthquake. In Atlanta? Seriously? No way. Turns out they were right, though, and I got to experience my very first earthquake!! It was SO awesome! 😀 Crazy how I lived in California and never felt even a tiny one yet I move to the south and BAM, biggest earthquake in VA history. LOL. I wish I had felt more, though, to be honest, but it was still fun nonetheless. Lifelong dream = achieved.

Went to the Ruby Hoedown in Nashville with Erik a few weeks ago. It’s a computer convention that he goes to for work and I tag along for a weekend of catching up on sleep. This year was fun, it was nice to see some of the guys and enjoy a little time off. Nashville’s a great city and I always enjoy a visit. On the way home we stopped by the Jack Daniel Distillery in Lynchburg, TN for a tour of the facility and it was surprisingly very, very interesting!

Speaking of visits, EJ’s man invited me and Erik to spend the weekend with them at his friend’s lake house in Talladega, Alabama for Labor Day weekend. We detoured through the absolutely beautiful Talladega National Forest on the way there and got to play on some fun gravel roads. The house itself was really cool and EJ’s guy’s friend was super nice. He had a boat that we got to go out on and a jetski we could play with! I’d never ridden a jetski before but after I got over the initial “omg I am going to die” fear, I maxed it out at 60 MPH. It was so much fun! Unfortunately, Tropical Storm Lee dampened our plans (literally) and so we spent the evening and following day hanging around the house eating, napping and watching movies which actually wound up being perfect.

Yay I didn’t die!

The wedding plans are coming along well. We’re done with all of the big stuff and I finally purchased my wedding dress the other week. I’m not going to say what it is because I want to keep it a surprise, but the overall look I’m going for is “classy disco ball”. It will be awesomeness.

Spent some time with my ladyfriends who I lovelovelove. We had a big Girls Night dinner and then went to see The Help after which was great, I definitely recommend checking it out. I also did a class at the Circus Arts Institute with some friends which was cool. We did some trapeze-y work and I (finally) learned how to properly climb a rope. Speaking of fitness, I now have a new riding instructor yet again. This makes 4 in 6 months due to scheduling issues at the barn. Ugh. I’m so not happy. Blue is an awesome horse, I just wish I had a trainer to match.

ReRe Remix 5.0, Friends, Wedding Updates, etc.

August 15, 2011

Yet again I’ve put off updating for what seems like forever but this time I’ll be completely honest and admit it was (mostly) due to laziness and procrastination.

Every year my best friends from college come down to Atlanta to visit and we entertain ourselves for days on end being silly and going on random adventures. This year, Alyssa and Tom flew down to join me, EJ, Sarah and Erik. We roadtripped to Tennessee to do fun tourist-y stuff. Our first stop was at Rock City, a gigantic rock outcropping/formation on a mountain in Chattanooga that’s got incredible outlooks and views of up to seven surrounding states, beautiful gardens and lots more.

After Rock City we stopped for lunch at a local eatery and then went over to Rock City’s sister attraction, Ruby Falls, the largest underground waterfall in the country. After an hour-long adventure exploring the amazingly gorgeous cave itself, we finally got to see the falls. To say the entire experience was stunning does not do it justice. I know it may sound cheesy, but I highly recommend checking both of these attractions out if you’re nearby!

In addition to lots of yummy nomming and general laziness, we also went to Stone Mountain for their Fourth of July Laser Show Spectacular. They had changed it up a bit from the show we saw last year and the new special effects really were pretty spectacular! I had a great weekend with my ladies (and the boys!) but as always it wasn’t nearly long enough.


Click here for the whole “ReRe Remix 5.0 – Rock City & Ruby Falls” album

The following weekend was my bestie’s birthday! To celebrate the world enjoying another year of EJ we got a group of friends together and went to Six Flags White Water for a day of splashing around on waterslides. Afterwards we had a nice little dinner and party at Sarah’s house which was a blast. Speaking of friends and the ladies, we’ve all been trying (and succeeding!) to do a monthly Girls Night were we all get together and just have fun. August’s was dinner out and then relaxing and dessert at Sarah’s yet again – her apartment rocks!

This past Friday marked the one-year anniversary of Erik and I getting engaged (August 12, 2010). To celebrate, we went to a really fun wine tasting at the Atlanta Wine School and had a great time learning, sipping and meeting new people. On that same subject, the wedding is almost 100% done being planned. We’ve booked our DJ, florist and rabbi. All that’s left is for me to buy my dress, order invitations and put the whole thing together! We’re still 10 months out and I still can’t believe how easy it’s been. I’m sure I’ll regret saying that once the wedding actually gets closer, though, and things get more chaotic. 😉

Riding hasn’t been great lately, but that’s no one’s fault except for Mother Nature’s. The past few lessons have been canceled either due to excessive heat or to rain – I haven’t ridden in three weeks! Yuck! I’m supposed to ride tomorrow with a new trainer and hopefully that will actually happen. I’m simultaneously looking forward to it and dreading the pain and soreness that I know will follow soon after. Wish me luck!

Lots of Car Fun, Wedding Updates and Horsies.

June 28, 2011

So as many of you know, I’m currently working for Precision Turbo & Engine doing marketing and other fun things. Last month, the NHRA was in town and I got to attend as a PTE employee to work the event. I spent two days at the track surrounded by insanely high-horsepower racecars and incredibly nice people. I was taking photos/videos for Precision and therefore got the amazing once-in-a-lifetime chance to stand right up on the starting line while the Pro Mod cars launched. I even got to hang out just a few feet away from the Top Fuel and Funny Cars! The latter resulted in me being absolutely covered in little black bits of tire, but it was unreal and the power these cars produced was unlike anything I had ever experienced before. Overall the weekend was fabulous and while none of the Precision boosted cars won the Pro Mod class, I came away feeling like the event was a success. I’m incredibly grateful to the entire PTE crew for giving me this opportunity and for having the chance to meet so many wonderful people!


Want to see the rest of the awesomeness? Check out http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?pid=39962955&l=8543e4f42b&id=10503411

Speaking of cars, the annual VW/German car extravaganza known as Southern Worthersee went down in north GA. We went with some friends and spent the day wandering around looking at cool cars and eating yummy German food. This event is always a blast and I think they had 1,000+ cars this year in attendance!

Other notable things that have happened since my last post: it’s now been officially four years that Erik and I have been homeowners. It blows my mind how quickly time has passed. Also, I’ve started my search for the perfect wedding dress and I’m convinced it does not exist. I can’t reveal any details of what I want because I do want it to be a surprise the actual day-of, but I’ve been to a ton of stores and tried on a billion dresses and none of them have made me feel like they’re The One. All those stupid wedding shows on TV make it look like it’s soooo easy to pick the perfect dress and that is definitely NOT the case in my situation! Oh well, I’ll keep looking… We’re thisclose to booking a florist and DJ, though, so at least we’re making progress with that.

As for riding, things are going well at Huntcliff. I’ve been riding Blue who is wonderful and finally feel like I don’t suck anymore. I went down to the PoloBear Polo Club in Tyrone, GA with some friends to try my hand at polo again and had a blast. I rode a lovely gray Criollo mare named Memphis and was impressed at how good a pony she was. We played a mini game (just one long chukkar) and I’m absolutely addicted. I can’t wait to play polo again!

Lots of exciting things are in the works for the next few weeks – stay tuned!

Birthdays, Anniversaries, Wedding Stuff, Friends, Work & more – OMG!

May 10, 2011

I have been meaning to update this for the past few weeks actually, but have to keep pushing back the reminder (I’ll be honest, without Outlook I wouldn’t remember to do anything) over and over. Ugh, and I actually got a work IM that distracted me for a good 30 minutes the very second I wrote that first sentence! Ironic, yes?

Anyway, we’ve been actively trying to knock more items off our wedding To Do list. We booked a photographer and are so excited to be working with the amazingly talented Nadia D. We met with a bunch of florists/décor specialists and right now we’re just waiting on quotes before we can make a decision, unfortunately. We’re also looking for a great DJ so if anyone out there in internetland has a recommendation, let me know!

In early April, my best friend EJ and I celebrated our five year friendaversary. I feel so fortunate to have this amazing girl in my life and love that we make a point to celebrate our friendship every year. This year we went with some other wonderful girlfriends to Sips N Swirls, a local place where you bring your own wine and learn to paint. It sounds ridiculously cheesy (which it was) but it was so much fun and our art turned out great!


We made art, and it didn’t suck! Lauren, EJ, me & Sarah with our “masterpieces”.

Also in April was my birthday. Yep, that’s right – the one day a year everyone gets to focus on how amazingly awesome I am and shower me with love and presents. I spent the day with friends, was lazy (which was such a nice change from my usual hectic pace) and then went to dinner with Erik, EJ and Sarah at The Sundial, a rotating restaurant on top of the tallest skyscraper in Atlanta. It was fabulous, dinner was delicious and turning 27 wasn’t too bad. I’ll leave out the part about how both Erik and my mom thought I was turning 28, though… bastards. 😉

Speaking of birthdays, April was also the month of Sarah’s 25th! Being such a milestone occasion we decided to give her a whole weekend of happies. Friday night we did a “Girls Night” and got a ton of ladies together for dinner and a movie which was so ridiculously fun and then Saturday night we also did an official birthday dinner at Trader Vic’s. My little girl is all grown up!

That same weekend, Erik’s mommy Linda came in to visit us and it was so wonderful to see her. I feel so fortunate to be marrying into such a warm and loving family and to have a fabulous (future) mother-in-law!

Riding at Huntcliff has been going well. I switched to a new trainer now that Miriam’s living her real-life fairytale in Germany and I’m really happy with how things are going with Kindra. I’ve been having fun riding Blue and feel like I’m getting my strength and confidence back after a few shaky months.

Hmm… what else. I took a coworker to the range a few weeks ago to teach her how to shoot with some other friends which was a lot of fun, too. It’s funny how much people really enjoy shooting; it’s not necessarily a sport that you’d assume most people would take to so quickly! Also, the new Precision Turbo & Engine website is finally live!! We’ve been working hard on this for months and I’m so pleased to see it come to fruition. Check it out: PrecisionTurbo.net and please tell all your friends!

This past weekend was also pretty mellow and I’m starting to enjoy the slower pace my life is trending towards lately. We went to go see Fast Five, finally, with some friends and I was surprised that it was actually really good! The only downside was that it wasn’t really a car movie, but predominately an action move. I want more Paul Walker and more cars! LOL

Okay, that was a LOT of stuff but thankfully that’s all I’ve got for now!