if you want to have a great weekend...

...you should fly through two neighboring states in order to pick up your four-going-on-fourteen-year-old niece from her [beautiful] preschool.

Make sure you bring her some ever-so-pink fingernail polish so that you can have mani/pedi conversation where she begins her stories with "Well..." and uses shockingly large words. Oh, and sparkles in the polish are good too. 

Then it wouldn't be a bad idea to chalk up some serious sister points by working a fundraiser with her in the blistering cold. Don't worry, the [FREEZING] weather is worth the seven hours of sisterly talk time. And chapped lips.

For your Grown Up Girls Only day out, I'd suggest picking a sunny Saturday. And cool too. But mainly sunny. 

Pick a perfectly picturesque neighborhood with great shopping and even better eateries [Our pick: Homewood, AL. Favorite stops: AtHome and Three Sheets]. 

If you happen to be near a place that sells 2,000 pounds of your mutual favorite lunch food per week served with about thirty different kinds of fruit and the best limemade you've ever tasted, it's worth a try. 

Bonus points if it's comfortably crowded with history-splashed walls and layers of mementos on top of serving dishes on top of produce. 

Even if you eat the best chicken salad you've ever had at one o'clock, it's good to go to dinner too. A dinner with high ceilings and clinking glasses and white napkins and wedge salads and rosemary flatbread. Oh, and handmade pasta. Handmade pasta is required [source: Brio].

Go early so that you can have plenty of time to talk about life and kids and spouses. Enough time to be reminded how beautifully linked your lives are even though you will soon be living in three separate states. Enough time for the serious and enough time for plenty of laughter. Enough time to offer much needed rest with two people who know you so deeply. And always will.

Then you will be glad you ate early because there is a Jimmy Buffet concert in the arena next to your concert hall. You wouldn't want to be late for your third viewing of the best Broadway show there ever was and probably ever will be. Awesome seats come highly suggested, as well. 

After three hours of laughter and tears and breath-stopping high notes, your cold walk back to the car won't be bad at all. You'll be on a Wickedly green high. And after the seat warmers make you forget how cold your legs were, ice cream makes for a great ride home. 

When you've dragged yourself home in the early hours of the morning, say goodnight with an unexpected group hug. There is no better way to end the night before you crash into bed. And I mean crash

If you want to officially lose all inhibition of the fact that you were eating light, go to brunch with your family and order apple cinnamon granola pancakes. They were whole wheat, OK?

Enjoy a Wicked-filled drive home to a hard working husband who you missed very very much. Be sure you tell him. 

Any questions?

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