Dec 222017
 

Hi friends! I have the day off from work today and am planning to spend it getting a few last things ready for Christmas. All our gifts are wrapped and the house is clean, so today will be spent doing some cooking! Then this afternoon, I’m heading over to my mom’s house to help her decorate the tree, and this evening I’ll be hanging with my best friends from home for our annual gingerbread house making get-together. Woohoo!

I’ll try to pop in sometime next week with an update for you guys, but just in case I don’t, I’ll see you back here in 2018!

For those of you who celebrate it, I hope you have a very Merry Christmas and (just in case), a happy New Year!

XOXO

 

 

 Posted by on December 22, 2017
Dec 202017
 

Helloooo, and welcome to another wedding recap! Man, I thought I’d be able to wrap everything up in one last post, but who am I kidding–I’m going to need at least one more after this to fit everything in! I might not make it to my goal of recapping everything by the end of 2017, but I’m still going to try!

Today’s recap kicks off the wedding reception! If you missed any of my past recaps you can find those here.

As usual, I have a couple of vendor notes to share with you guys:

  • DJ: Crow Entertainment (we worked with CJ, and he was SO great! He got everyone’s names right, and we had some tough ones! Plus his playlist was fantastic!)
  • Dessert: Peace of Cake (the prettiest and most delicious desserts!!)
  • Photography: Lauren Nievod (I’ve already raved about her a ton of times – 100% recommend)
  • Venue: Wye River Conference Center (amazing Eastern Shore/riverfront hotel with beautiful grounds. Can only be booked by groups, meaning our guests took up the whole thing)

And with that, let’s dive right in!

As soon as cocktail hour was over, the DJ instructed everyone to take their seats under the tent. Then he pressed play on “You make my dreams” by Daryl Hall & John Oates, which we used as our bridal party entrance song! (BTW, this song is currently being used in a Chili’s commercial, and every time I hear it come on it makes me think of the wedding!)

First up, my mom and stepdad! Don’t they look so great?! They danced in a bit, but also kept things classy (per usual).

Up next came my dad and stepmom, who danced a little bit more. 🙂

But Fabio’s parents, however, really got into it! They’re both great dancers, so I’m not surprised.

Then came the bridal party! I had sent them all an email leading up to the wedding letting them know who they’d be walking in with and encouraged them to work together to come up with a fun entrance, and they did NOT disappoint. We had some really fun ones!

Here are Kristen and Tom…

Jon and Catrina…

Jay and Megan…

And Diane and Alex!

Honestly, everyone had a great entrance – even my sister who wound up having to walk in by herself due to some confusion with the flower girl. 🙂 Yay, bridal party!

When it got to be our turn, Fabio and I realized we hadn’t planned anything for ourselves! Ha! So we looked at each other and just decided to run into the tent.

Woohoo!

It seemed to work out well. 🙂

I had also told our bridal party to circle the dance floor once they entered the tent, which made for a super special first dance with all our best friends surrounding us. It obviously looked nice for the pictures too. 🙂

Our first dance song was “Say You Won’t Let Go” by James Arthur, and as soon as the music started, our bridal party all linked arms and started swaying to the music.

Fabio and I had originally thought about taking dance lessons for our first dance, but after talking to our friend Kristen (who’s a dancer), she suggested we do whatever feels natural to us. Having to worry about choreographed dance steps isn’t really our personality, so we took her advice and just kind of winged it. I actually think we did pretty well!

We even got a few spins in, which was fun since the bottom of my dress spun out. 🙂

P.S. How great is Catrina’s face in that photo above?

And then before we knew it, our song was coming to an end!

Which of course meant a big kiss. 🙂

After our first dance was over, we went right into dances with our parents. To save time/maximize time spent on the dance floor later, we just danced to one song (“What a Wonderful World” by Louis Armstrong, which is a special one for my dad and me), and it was nice to have all four of us on the dance floor together. Fabio and his mom had a nice little step going on, but my dad and I just kind of swayed. (Again with the winging it thing!) 🙂

Once that was over, my grandpa shared a blessing so everyone could start eating their salads and bread. This was something special I wanted to include since my grandparents mean so much to me, and my grandpa is pretty involved with his church.

Fun fact: I actually hand-wrote him a card asking him to read a blessing and mailed to his house a few months before the wedding, even though I see him and my grandma pretty frequently. He seemed to really appreciate this gesture, and it was nice to ask him in a somewhat special way. (We did this with our aunts for the readings too!)

Anyway, my grandpa did a great job!

Then while people dug into their salads, we got started with speeches! My dad went first.

My dad and Fabio worked together at one point a few years ago doing government work, so my dad made a joke about how every dad wants to know all about his daughter’s boyfriend, so my dad’s solution was to hire Fabio and then make him go through an official government background check. Ha! This was actually true – Fabio did have to get a background check for that job – so it was pretty funny.

My dad did a great job at making us laugh while also bringing in lots of emotion, which was a common theme with all the speeches at our wedding.

I’ve always been a daddy’s girl, so this was a really nice moment for me. 🙂

Up next was my stepsister, Maggie! Maggie started off by saying she was going to do something a little different from a regular speech, by singing an original song that she wrote!

This caught me totally by surprise, and then I realized there was a keyboard and microphone set up by the DJ booth. Had that been there the whole time?

Maggie is a great singer and really creative, and her song was all about the relationship of sisters and love.

Her last line in the song had something to do with how when times are hard or I’m feeling lonely, I should remember all the love here today, and I totally lost it. Wow – I was NOT expecting to get so emotional during her speech (/song)!

It was so, so sweet of her to write and sing us a song, and it’s a memory I will always cherish.

After that was the best man, Hayden!

Fabio and Hayden met freshman year of college, and I met them both during our sophomore year, so I was kind of nervous about what kind of stories Hayden was going to bring up in his speech. We have been through a LOT of crazy times together (usually involving too much alcohol) so I didn’t know what to expect. In the end, he shared a funny story that involved drinking and the Yankees, which was appropriate given Fabio’s love for the team and luckily not too embarrassing.

Ok, so it was a little embarrassing.

But I had made him promise to run his speech by his girlfriend, his sister, and his mom before the big day, so luckily it wasn’t too bad. I actually think he did a fantastic job!

Last but not least, my best friend and other Maid of Honor, Bianca!

Bianca tends to get emotional, so I was definitely expecting some tears from this one.

In the end, Bianca had me cracking up for 99.9% of her speech, and I only got super emotional at the end.

There was one point where I felt sure I was ugly-crying, but from the pictures, it doesn’t like it was too bad. She really got me though, and I felt #alltheemotions.

My best friend! <3

Then we did a quick little cake-cutting ceremony while the DJ played “Cake (I only Came for the Cake)” by DJ Too Tan. My friend Megan got us these adorable Kate Spade cake-cutters, so I made a crazy face at her which was captured on camera. Ha!

When Fabio and I cut the cake, we agreed not to smash each other’s faces into it.

However, that didn’t mean I couldn’t put some on Fabio’s nose, right?

He got me back after that, which was pretty fun. 🙂

Yay!

And after that, the rest of the night was spent on the dance floor!! More in the next recap!

Question of the day: Would you take dance lessons or wing it? Cake smashed in the face or no?

 Posted by on December 20, 2017
Dec 192017
 

When I looked back at my phone to see what pictures I had to document this past weekend, I realized there were surprisingly few. Womp womp – blogger fail.

BUT, I did have some pictures from a fun night out on Wednesday last week, so I’m sharing those with you guys today as well! Let’s dive right into today’s weekend + random Wednesday recap. 🙂

As I mentioned, after work on Wednesday I had plans to meet up my old coworkers, Claire, Jojo, Shriya, and Brittany!

We haven’t all worked together since early 2013, but I love that we always make an effort to see each other for various dinners and happy hours throughout the year. I love having good friends that I can count on to stay in touch!

This time we decided to meet up for a cozy dinner at the festive Floriana, and of course, we couldn’t resist snapping a picture with the large Christmas tree outside the restaurant. I just love this spot during the holidays!

Once we sat down at our table and caught up over delicious bread and homemade pesto, we swapped Secret Santa gifts! I had Claire and got her a sweater from J. Crew, and Brittany had me and got me an eye mask and the most amazing smelling candle. Yay! Secret Santa is so fun. 🙂

For my meal, I got the braised lamb gnocchi with a big old dollop of house-made ricotta on top. Yummmm.

My meal was delicious, and I had plenty of leftovers the next day too!

Claire and Jojo are both somewhat recently engaged (and now after this past weekend, Brittany is too!) so we had a fun night catching up about wedding planning and work over lots of wine and laughter. What a fun night with friends!

As for my weekend, it was a good one! Friday night was spent hanging out at home watching The Crown. Anyone else watching?

I was so, so happy to be on the couch with the glow of the Christmas tree and the warmth of the fire. Is there anything better?

On Saturday, we were up bright and early for an early morning dentist appointment in Reisterstown, MD (outside of Baltimore) with our brother-in-law, Alex. Though we had to get up pretty early to make it to Alex’s office by 9, it was worth it since we got to stop by and see this little cutie on the way! (We dropped Jack off at Diane and Alex’s house so he could hang out there while we got our teeth cleaned).

Baby Michael turned four months old on Saturday and was looking even cuter than last time we saw him. What a little nugget!

He was also way more grabby this time – when I held him he was all about holding on to my nose, chin, and scarf. 🙂

After our dentist appointment (no cavities!), we ran some errands then scooped up Jack and headed over to our friends Jay and Meg’s place in Baltimore. Jay and Meg recently bought a house, and we were excited to see it and stay there for the remainder of the weekend.

Upon arriving, we wasted no time heading out for some fun! We first popped into Das Bier Haus for some lunch and drinks and were entertained by a crowd of folks participating in an ugly sweater bar crawl, complete with competitions to see which team of four people could finish off a boot of beer first. Yep, entertainment at its finest!

For my lunch, I enjoyed a tasty Reuben sandwich and fries. Yum!

After that, we headed to one other beer garden (I forget the name!) and then headed back to Jay and Meg’s to get ready for a holiday party at our friends Tom and Cait’s place. Tom and Cait also recently got engaged (next year is going to be #alltheweddings) so we were thrilled to be able to celebrate with them! Somehow I didn’t manage to get a single picture from the party – I was having too much fun catching up with everyone! – but it was really a lot of fun.

Fabio and I headed back home around noon on Sunday, and my afternoon was spent baking tons of cookies for our coworkers to enjoy this week.

I wound up making ginger snaps and chocolate chip M&M cookies from my Sally’s Baking Addiction cookbook, and these “world peace cookies” that I heard about on the Bon Appetit podcast. All of the cookies came out great, but I was especially happy with the world peace cookies! BTW – apparently they have that name because if everyone ate them we’d have world peace. Ha! They’re THAT good!

And that’s about it for our weekend! It sure was a good one, and it’s hard to believe next weekend is Christmas! Where did 2017 go?!

Question of the day: What kind of treats do you like to make or eat during the holidays?

 Posted by on December 19, 2017
Dec 152017
 

Hey there! It’s time for another wedding recap, this time with some photos from cocktail hour! If you missed any of my past recaps, you can find those here.

As usual, here are some vendor notes for the photos in this post:

  • Dessert: Peace of Cake (the prettiest and most delicious desserts!!)
  • Florist: Monteray Farms (Amy Wilkins was truly amazing to work with. If you have an Eastern Shore wedding, I would totally recommend her!)
  • Photography: Lauren Nievod (I’ve already raved about her a ton of times – 100% recommend)
  • Venue: Wye River Conference Center (amazing Eastern Shore/riverfront hotel with beautiful grounds. Can only be booked by groups, meaning our guests took up the whole thing)

And now, let’s dive right in!

As soon as our wedding ceremony ended, we walked up the pathway to the patio and grassy area where cocktail hour would be held!

In this area, we also had a couple of tables with our guest book and boxes for cards, and the staff at the Wye River Conference Center hung our cool wooden photo frame that my MoH/best friend Bianca made us for our engagement party the year before!

Before we got started with cocktail hour, we took some beautiful family portraits. We had the photo lists planned out ahead of time and we had told all of our family to be ready for pictures immediately following the ceremony, which made everything go a lot faster.

Here’s Fabio’s family…

And my dad, stepmom, and sister!

And then we got some with my mom, stepdad, stepsister, and her boyfriend!

We had a few other iterations of these – some with just the parents, some with my grandparents, etc. – but after about 20 minutes we had wrapped up pictures and could enjoy our cocktail hour!

At this point my mom and Aunt CC went with me into the house to tie my dress up into its bustle (which was a lot more complicated than we had hoped), but before long we were back outside with everyone enjoying the party.

This space was so beautiful for cocktail hour – there was a nice patio with tables and chairs but a lot more room out on the grass. It was so beautiful!

Our guests seemed to really enjoy the passed hors d’ouvres too – sadly I didn’t get to try any!

I loved seeing people use our photo frame too!

Meanwhile, our photographers took some beautiful pictures of all our wedding reception details. Our florist Amy Wilkins brought these amazing rustic doors for us to use for the escort cards – I just love how they turned out!

And here’s the reception space – we worked with the wedding coordinator at the Wye River Conference Center and the florist to come up with this design. We used a mix of round tables and rectangular ones and had a whole mix of flowers for the centerpieces. We were going for sort of a garden theme, but I didn’t want anything too matchy-matchy. I love how it all turned out!

This super long rectangular table seated most of the bridal party and their dates, and it was really nice for me to have everyone together!

And Fabio and I got to enjoy a beautiful sweetheart table!

And check out this AMAZING dessert display – our florist Amy provided all the different tiered structures, our cute little dessert bites are from Peace of Cake, and the Wye River Conference Center people helped set everything up. I could NOT be more pleased with how it all turned out!!

Also since Fabio is allergic to shellfish but we wanted to include crabs in our wedding since we were on the Eastern Shore, we included some adorable crab sugar cookies on the dessert display!

So cute, right? We also had a bunch of to-go cardboard boxes for our guests so people could take these treats back to their rooms after the wedding. 🙂

I mean, I clearly love treats, so this was the perfect dessert option for me. 🙂

And then we had a small vanilla buttercream cake to cut!

I think everything came out so beautifully!

As the sun started to set, Fabio and I snuck away for a few husband and wife portraits. I love how these came out too!

My hubby!

After that, it was time to party! Next recap will be the reception!

Question of the day: Cake at weddings or other treats?

 Posted by on December 15, 2017
Dec 142017
 

It’s beginning to look feel a lot like Christmas…

Phew! It’s finally getting cold around these parts! Brrrr! I kind of like it though – it makes me feel more festive and ready for the holidays!

How are you guys doing today? It’s been forever since I wrote more than two words about food and fitness, so I’m planning to share an update on that with you today.

But first, did I ever show you our tree this year? Fabio and I picked it up from Home Depot after work last Monday. We’ve learned that all the tree places near us are totally swamped on weekends in December and sell out of most of their trees, so last year we bought our tree on a weeknight and had much better luck. We tried the same thing this year, and practically had the place to ourselves! I think we have a new tradition on our hands, at least for now.

When we set up it up and started decorating, I was thrilled to see that Elf was playing on Freeform (anyone else still think of it as ABC Family?).

Woohoo–my favorite Christmas movie! (Home Alone is my second fav, followed by the original cartoon version of The Grinch).

While I put the lights and the ribbon on, Fabio headed outside to do our outdoor decorations. We keep things pretty simple outside – just some candles and wreaths in the windows, and white lights outlining the door with a white star on top. (The light-up star and lights were given to us by my grandparents  last year – hooray for free decorations!)

When Fabio came back inside, we finished decorating the tree together. I always wait for him to do the ornaments since we always buy an ornament when we travel, and each Christmas we have a blast looking back at old ones and reminiscing about past trips. We had a new one for Thailand this year, plus a few “just married” ones!

I think our other decorations look pretty cute too – we have a fun, red sequin “Holly Jolly” pillow, and our little bar area is decked out in “snow” and nutcrackers.

There’s also a string of battery-operated thin white lights hung across this area, which unfortunately you can’t see here. They’re super cute though!

Ok so, now that I’ve blabbered on about the holidays, let’s talk food and fitness!

As far as workouts go, I’ve still been chugging along with ClassPass, though I’ve been thinking a bit about switching up my plan. I’ve really been loving Orange Theory lately, and I’ve found that for the last two months I haven’t been used up all my CP classes. Plus CP is beta testing a new “credits” format, which I’m still trying to figure out if I like. Anyone else on the new credits plan?

For now though, I’m still putting CP to good use with classes at Urban Athletic Club, BodyMass Gym, Definitions, and Biker Barre. Speaking of Urban Athletic Club, the Georgetown location is closing this weekend! We’ve been going there for years, and it’s hard to believe we won’t be going back there anymore. I’m sure we’ll still visit the Glover Park and Shaw locations though, which we’ve been going to a bit more lately.

Now that Anne has had her baby, Kathleen and I are going to classes just the two of us. We miss Anne and can’t wait to have her back, but I’m so lucky that I still have a solid workout buddy!

I’m currently averaging around 3 classes per week with a couple of runs with Jack thrown in between, and I’m feeling like that’s a decent enough amount for right now.

As far as food goes…well, I could be doing better. I feel like I always gain weight around this time of year – it starts with my birthday in late September, then I eat candy around Halloween, then it’s Thanksgiving, and then the treats really come around during the holidays. My work environment is the worst for trying to make good food choices too – every day there are new treats to enjoy.

In theory, I should pick and choose what to splurge on and only enjoy the items that I decide are worth it. But something about sitting at my desk (feeling bored, most likely) and knowing there are delicious brownies, cookies, bagels, and pie available for at any point really tests my willpower. I know it’s not a huge deal if I eat treats here and there, but every day for the whole month of December is a problem (for me).

But it is what it is, and if I eat too much I just try to do better the next day.

Alright – that’s all I have for you guys today! Have a wonderful Thursday!

Question of the day: How do you handle treats around the holidays?

 Posted by on December 14, 2017
Dec 122017
 

Hey there! Did you have a nice weekend? Ours was really great – and it included the first snow of the season! Here’s a peek at what we were up to.

Friday

After work on Friday, Fabio and I joined our friends Jon and Liz for drinks and dinner at Little Serow! For those who haven’t heard of Little Serow, it’s a popular Thai restaurant in D.C. that usually requires standing in line for a few hours to nab a table. Jon and Liz are going to Thailand for their honeymoon next week, so we thought going to Little Serow to share Thailand tips would be the perfect send-off for them! Jon got in line at around 6 p.m. on Friday, and he was able to get our name down for a 9 p.m. seating.

While we waited for our table, we headed to a nearby Peruvian bar, Nazca Mochica for cocktails. The bar had a nice, quiet atmosphere and incredible drinks. I started off with a rosemary and beet concoction (!!) and then got a spicy cucumber drink. Yummmm.

Before long, our table was ready!

You don’t order anything off the menu at Little Serow – they just bring a bunch of stuff to your table and tell you what everything is. At first I was confused by this basket of (beautifully cut) raw veggies, but once I tasted how spicy some of the other dishes were I understood their purpose. 😉

I do enjoy spicy food so the heat wasn’t too big of a deal, and the waiter did a good job at alerting us to the dishes that were more on the spicy side. One of the spiciest (but tastiest) dishes we had was this amazing ground duck course, and my other favorites were probably the sticky rice “tater tots” and the tom kha soup. Yum! These buttery mushroom topped with a runny fried egg were also quite delicious.

And Fabio and I were excited to see our favorite Thai beer, Singha on the menu!

It was such a great night out, and I left feeling so thankful for these great friends. 🙂 I can’t wait to hear how their trip goes!

Saturday

On Saturday morning, we woke up to snow! Fabio and I suited up and took Jack to the park, and it was quite fun being out with all the snowflakes blowing around. (This picture was taken when the snow had just started, and though nothing stuck to the roads or sidewalks, we wound up getting a decent amount on the grass by the end of the day.)

We let Jack off his leash to run around a bit in the field, and two other dogs showed up to run with him! Before we knew it, we had an impromptu doggy play date! 🙂

Once we returned home, Fabio and I headed out for a late breakfast/early lunch at our favorite local cafe, Northside Social. Two large lattes, please! 🙂

For my breakfast, I got the smoked salmon breakfast sandwich with a perfectly poached egg on top. Yum!

After that, Fabio and I headed home to snuggle on the couch and watch TV by the fire. It was so cozy with the snow falling!

Later in the afternoon, Fabio headed out to meet up with his friends for a Christmas party in Baltimore (he spent the night there) and I got all of our Christmas shopping done and even got some gifts wrapped. Phew! It was a productive afternoon.

In the evening I had some leftovers for dinner and then wound up switching between reading Bon Appetit magazine (I recently subscribed since I love their podcast so much) and watching The Santa Clause on Freeform. I love that movie! (And all the holiday Freeform movies.)

I was in bed nice and early with my book (I’m currently reading Ken Follet’s A Column of Fire and it is SO good!), so basically, I had the perfect Saturday night. (Except I missed my hubby, of course!)

Sunday

Fabio arrived back at home by 9 a.m., and then we were off to my dad’s house! As you guys know, my little sister (technically my half-sister) is 12 years old now, and for Christmas this year she asked for stuff to redo her bedroom and bathroom. I can totally remember being that age where you are tired of your “kid” stuff, so for her Christmas gift we decided to outfit her with a bunch of new stuff for her bedroom and bathroom including a new headboard and shower curtain, and then spend some time over at their house helping her update everything.

Once we arrived, we spent our whole day emptying out cabinets, cleaning drawers, scrubbing the tub, making piles for donations and trash, and just basically fixing everything up in the bathroom. It wound up taking the whole day, but it looked like a brand new bathroom by the time we were done! My sister seemed super excited when we left (apparently she went upstairs to try out the shower immediately), even though we didn’t get much done in her bedroom and will have to go back another day for that.

We did get the Christmas tree decorated at my dad’s house before we headed back home, so I would definitely call it another productive day!

Fabio and I arrived back at home at around 8:30, which was just enough time for me to prep a bit for the week ahead and read approximately 4.5 pages of my book before my eyes got heavy and I went to sleep.

And there you have it – our productive and fun snowy weekend!

Question of the day: How spicy do you like your food?

 Posted by on December 12, 2017
Dec 082017
 

Hello there! As I mentioned last week, I’m trying to get all my wedding recap posts up before the end of the year, which means I need to keep chugging along! If you missed any of my last recaps, you can find them here.

And, as usual, here are my vendor notes:

  • Florist: Monteray Farms (Amy Wilkins was truly amazing to work with – wait until you see what she did for our dessert table and escort cards! If you have an Eastern Shore wedding, I would totally recommend her!)
  • Photography: Lauren Nievod (I’ve already raved about her a ton of times – 100% recommend)
  • Venue: Wye River Conference Center (amazing Eastern Shore/riverfront hotel with beautiful grounds. Can only be booked by groups, meaning our guests took up the whole thing)

And now, it’s time for the ceremony!

When I saw the ceremony space decorated for the first time, I think my jaw dropped. It was everything I had envisioned and more.

We chose to get married in the Cherry Grove of the Wye River Conference Center, which is a beautiful garden area with two big cherry trees (they looked almost like weeping willows) on both sides. This was perfect because it provided shade for our guests on an early summer day.

Amy Wilkins from Monteray Farms totally knocked it out of the park when it came to our flowers – I’m not much of a flower person so I didn’t know the names of the flowers I wanted, but she took my inspiration pictures from Pinterest and ran with it. In the end, I was so, so pleased with how everything came out.

I borrowed the white shepherds’ hooks from my friend Megan, and to save money, the mason jars used in the ceremony were repurposed as part of the centerpieces in the reception as well. My amazing stepdad built the awesome arch (trellis? what is this called?) that you see below, and now it’s residing at my mom’s house when you enter their garden!

The flowers surrounding the arch are probably my favorite part of the whole thing. How beautiful are these?!

Here’s a close-up of the mason jar flowers, as well as a peek at our program! (FYI – I bought my program fan design – as well as the table numbers and escort cards – from this Etsy store and had everything printed at Kinkos. My amazing family helped assemble the fans with popsicle sticks the weekend before the wedding.)

Originally we were planning to have our DJ take care of the music for the ceremony, but as a wedding gift, my stepsister Maggie sprung for a violinist. YES! This was something I didn’t budget for initially but decided I really wanted once it got closer to the big day. She is so sweet for doing this!

Instead of having her play traditional classic wedding music, we wanted to go a little more modern. Here are the songs we I chose, which I thought came out perfectly.

  • Prelude music (general classical)
  • Mothers/Grandmothers: Meditation from Thais
  • Bridesmaids/Bridal Party (including Junior bridesmaid and flower girl): I’m Yours
  • Bride: Can’t Help Falling in Love
  • Recessional: Marry You

While all these photos were being taken, the bridal party was gathered in the library room of the house, and I think we were all feeling pretty jittery and nervous. Specifically, I was thinking about the long walk through the grass and hoping I wouldn’t trip. I was wearing sandals under my dress so I wasn’t worried about tripping in heels, but all the same it was a long way to walk with lots of eyeballs on me. I was happy that my dad would be there so I could hold his arm just in case. 🙂

Eventually it was time to line up and start walking down the aisle. My grandparents and the moms went first (escorted by some of Fabio’s cousins and close family friends).

I love this one of my mom and stepdad. 🙂

My Grandma and Fabio’s cousin, Fabio Andres. (My Grandma thought it was crazy that with Fabio’s dad, we had three Fabios at the wedding!)

And then the boys made their way down!

Our two close family friends Lee and Dan are both priests, so they both officiated our wedding. It was so nice to have people close to us helping us tie the knot!

Then it was time for the ladies! I know I said it in my last recap, but I just love how their dresses turned out. They look like princesses!

At the end of the line were my maids of honor, junior bridesmaid (with Jack!) and flower girl.

Jack totally stole the show, and we could hear everyone laughing as my sister walked him down the aisle.

I also have to say how beautiful/adorable my sister looked this day. She’s growing up so fast! <3

P.S. – I heard that our photographer got on the ground to take this shot. She’s the best!

And here’s the flower girl! 🙂

I think she was mesmerized by Jack walking in front of her. 🙂

During all of this, my dad and I were waiting in the smaller garden up by the library. It was surreal watching everyone I loved so much walk down in front of me, and eventually only my dad and I were left.

I remember feeling worried about not knowing when it would be our turn to walk down the aisle – our cue was supposed to be when the violinist switched songs, but it was a bit hard to hear her from so far away. There were also a bunch of cows mooing near where we were, which made us laugh and broke up the nerves a bit. Finally we heard the music change, and then it was our turn!

My whole life I have been SUCH a Daddy’s girl – probably because we spent a lot of time just the two of us when I was growing up. I was so happy to have him there by my side on this important day.

I’m glad the photographer remembered to get a picture of Fabio’s face as came down the aisle – I was busy smiling at our guests and totally forgot to look until I was almost all the way down!

At this point Sofia, our flower girl, realized she had forgotten to throw down her rose petals, so she did it really quickly before we got to the end of the aisle. It made everyone laugh!

Then it was time for my dad to give me away!

There was an awkward moment when Fabio and my dad weren’t sure if they were supposed to shake hands or what. Everyone laughed!

Then Sofia threw some more flower petals (lol) and then the ceremony began!

I love these photos that the photographer got – she really captured the beauty of everything. You can really see the blue and green dresses here!

And Jack!

Fabio and I both love personalized, unique ceremonies, so we did our best to add our own touch to everything. First, we had some special vows to honor our parents. This was important to me because I wanted to make sure my stepdad and stepmom felt included.

We also had Fabio’s aunt Clara read a poem (that she wrote!) in Spanish, and my Aunt CC also gave a reading.

Then our family friend/priest, Dan, gave the most beautiful and personal homily that included special anecdotes about our relationship. Since he knows us pretty well, he was able to speak to us as a couple on a personal level, which was so, so nice.

He also had a trick up his sleeve – he asked everyone to bow their heads and say a prayer, and then he asked the moms to read their prayers aloud. Little did I know they both had beautiful prayers written out for us!

Then he handed us the mike and told us to say what we had been praying – um, what? Truthfully, I had been thinking about how happy I was and how I liked that I could hear some cows mooing, and I thought about a few other “to-dos” I had to take care of once the ceremony was over. Not much real “praying.”

But Fabio and I both were able to pull together something meaningful to say, and I think we got out of this situation pretty well. In the end, I’m glad Dan included this little surprise for us. 🙂

He also kept tying everything back to baseball and “home plate” during his homily (since Fabio is such a huge baseball fan) and at the end, he pulled out this amazing home plate that he had made for us! So, so sweet!

After that, we exchanged rings, prayed, and then we were married!

You may kiss the bride!

And with that, we were married!

Clearly I was happy. 🙂

Then we all headed back up the aisle for cocktail hour.

And we started out our new life as Mr. & Mrs.!

Question of the day: Do you get emotional at weddings?

I usually do, but I didn’t get too emotional during ours. I was more emotional before the first look!

 Posted by on December 8, 2017
Dec 072017
 

Hey guys! How are you doing today?

I promised you guys a second post with a recap of the rest of my weekend in New York City, so that’s coming at you today!

Ok so when we last left off, I had just had dinner with my bestie, Bianca! Then on Saturday morning, Fabio and I got ready for the day and headed downtown to meet up with my college girlfriends for a fun gurlay day!

I know I’ve mentioned these girls on the blog a bunch of times before, but for anyone who needs a refresher, there was a group of 8 of us who lived together our senior year of college in a house that we dubbed “Sloppytown” due to our ability to have a really good time. 😉 Our group has now grown a bit to include more of our college girlfriends, and now we call ourselves gurlays! I can’t recall where that name came from, but it stuck!

When we first graduated from college, half of us lived in the DC area and half of us lived in New York, but now we’re pretty much spread out all around the country (and Jess even lives in the Netherlands!). In addition to seeing each other at weddings, we typically try to plan to big events twice a year: One beach weekend in Fire Island, Long Island, and one winter/holiday weekend in NYC.

This weekend was our NYC trip, and it was SO much fun! We started off with a brunch at “6G,” which is an apartment in the East Villiage where my friends Vic, Megan, and Layne have lived for quite some time now. My friend Kristen used to live there too before she moved to Philly! When we arrived, we saw a full bloody merry bar, two kinds of quiches, bagels, donut holes and a delicious French toast bake. I brought some of my favorite Levain cookies for us to share. 🙂 Yum!

We then proceeded to spend many hours hanging out and catching up with one another.

Coincidentally, Kristen and I were wearing matching outfits! 🙂

Ha!

My friend Catrina and her girlfriend Jaclyn were also there–they live in San Diego– and it felt even more special having them in town from so far away. There were also more “men” in attendance this year (in the college days Fabio was the only one!) and I thought it was so cute to see them all huddled in the kitchen chatting.

At one point in the early evening, we attempted to prop my phone up on top of the fridge and use the timer to get a group selfie. It sort of worked…

LOL!

I debated cropping these pictures but I actually decided seeing a see of heads is much funnier. 🙂

Ha!

After brunch, we all headed to the Comedy Cellar, a cool comedy club where sometimes you can see famous comedians perform. My handsome date!

The Comedy Cellar was really fun, and we all laughed a ton! I would definitely recommend this if you’re looking for fun things to do in New York, but you have to make reservations a couple of weeks in advance.

After the show, we enjoyed a late dinner at Peking Duck House. We had Chinese food served family-style, and I gobbled up a ton. Yumm.

Then we headed out to some bars for even more fun!

We even met up with our friend DiSanto at the end of the night!

So, so fun!! 🙂

Fabio and I took a noon train back to D.C. on Sunday (after stopping at Shake Shack…) and arrived home around 4 p.m. Then we proceeded to put together some new furniture we bought during Black Friday sales and got ready for the week ahead!

The end.

Question of the day: Do most of your best friends live in one place or are they spread out?

 Posted by on December 7, 2017
Dec 052017
 

Hello, hello! How is your week going so far? As I mentioned on Thursday, Fabio and I had a really, really fun weekend in New York City. Like, really fun. I have a lot to share with you guys, so I’m splitting my weekend recap into two posts! Here’s part one…

Thursday

On Thursday morning, I headed up to New York City via Amtrak, and once I arrived, I spent a few hours working remotely from Aunt CC and Uncle Steve’s apartment on the Upper West Side. Fabio arrived around 4 p.m., and since he hadn’t eaten lunch he said he wanted to head out for a pizza “snack.” (One slice of NYC pizza is a snack to him, even though they are big slices!) I teased him because he had literally been in NYC for less than an hour and was already devouring pizza. Of course.

Then it was time to get ready for the Ad Council Awards Gala! For those who aren’t familiar with the Ad Council, it’s an organization that makes public service announcements (PSAs) for a variety of good causes. I’ve worked with them to make a type 2 diabetes prevention PSA, which is how I got invited to their annual awards dinner. It’s black tie and kind of a big deal – 1,500 people were there and there was even a Saturday Night Live skit about the dinner a few weeks ago.

I was lucky enough to have Fabio join me for the event, especially since tickets at the normal rate cost $3,000. Wow!

When we arrived, we spent the first hour or so at a cocktail hour hosted by Google!

I was excited to see our Type 2 Diabetes Prevention campaign on some signage throughout the room. 🙂

Very cool!

While we were getting drinks, we wound up meeting a woman from Twitter, who actually works with one of Fabio’s fraternity brothers! It was great meeting her and networking a bit, and funny how the world is so small and you run into people with shared connections everywhere.

Once we took our seats, I got to meet some of the people who I’ve worked with for the last year or so on our PSA. It was nice meeting them in person after so many email exchanges and conference calls!

Then the presentations began, and I have to admit I totally drank the Ad Council Koolaid. Ad Council’s slogan is “Together for Good” and they’re all about making a difference in the world. Through the presentations, they honored the CEO of Unilever – who apparently has done a lot of great work with corporate social responsibility and helping those in need – and then showcased a few of their PSA campaigns.

Here’s a sampling of the types of people we heard from: A woman who survived the Pulse nightclub shooting and talked about survivors’ guilt; a young woman who was in the foster care system until age 14 when she was finally adopted, who then started her own nonprofit to make welcome kits for newly adopted kids; and a woman who had trouble feeding her family, and when she got back on her feet she started volunteering at a food bank. That’s not even all of the presentations, but it gives you a sense of the kinds of stories we heard.

I was especially impressed with the CEO of Ad Council, Lisa Sherman, who talked about how we were all there to make a difference in the world and if we work together, we can create change. Yep – totally drank the Koolaid here.

After the dinner, it was time for the after-party, which was sponsored by Facebook! There was a really fun band with a trumpet player, and then a really fantastic DJ who played every song I would have requested to hear. Fabio and I made some friends on the dance floor, and I wound up dancing with a really flamboyant new friend. 😉 As one does.

At the end of the night, the DJ closed out the dance floor by playing All I Want for Christmas Is You, and for some reason, everyone stormed the stage and started singing into the (thankfully turned off) microphones. Somehow I wound up right next to the Ad Council CEO Lisa Sherman during this, and totally fan-girled out about being next to her.

Once the dancing was over, I saw her by the coat check and told her how inspired I was by her speech. I think we were both a bit tipsy – open bars will do that – but I thought we had a nice little conversation. What a fun night! 🙂

Friday

The next day, Fabio and I headed out for a fun NYC adventure! (With an itinerary suggested by Uncle Steve, of course.)

First up, we hopped on the subway and got out at Hudson Yards, a brand new station in Manhattan where they’re building a ton of new skyscrapers. The station was really beautiful and featured lots of awe-inspiring mosaics on the ceilings. I can’t even imagine how long it took someone to put all those little tiles up there.

Then we walked over to the Highline where we were able to get a great view of Hudson Yards. All of these buildings are built on top of where they store the subway trains, and each one had tons of people working on them. There were lots of cranes and little elevator things moving all around!

It will be so interesting to see what this area turns into once they’re done with the construction.

Then we continued walking along the Highline and took in the cool sites of the city. 🙂

It was a beautiful day for a walk, and we didn’t feel too chilly as long as we stayed in the sunshine.

Eventually Fabio’s best friend Hayden met up with us, and we wandered around Chelsea market.

We popped into a bunch of stores, including a pop-up Etsy store with a bunch of different vendors. I wound up buying myself a pair of really pretty earrings and could have easily left with a bunch of other gifts. Everything was so nice!

Eventually we got hungry for lunch and stopped for some delicious tacos.

Yummmm.

Plus some mini donuts to share for dessert!

After Chelsea Market, the three of us headed to The Standard beer garden for some mid-afternoon drinks and a few games of ping pong for the boys.

After sitting around and chatting for a while, the boys headed back to Hayden’s apartment and I met up with my best friend Bianca for a girls’ night out!

She came into the city from Port Authority, so we met up at the nearby Heartland Brewery for some beers and sandwiches.

After dinner, we walked around a bit until we found another cute bar (can’t remember the name!) and we spent a few more hours catching up. Having girl time with my best friend was so, so nice, and it made me wish we still lived close to each other.

I was back at Aunt CC and Uncle Steve’s place by around 12:30 and instantly fell asleep. I was exhausted! Fabio came home quite a bit later (he and Hayden stayed out at the bars until 4 a.m….) and then we both were happy we were able to sleep in a bit on Saturday. 🙂

Part two coming later this week!

Questions of the day: How often do you get one-on-one time with your best friend? Have you heard of the Ad Council?

 Posted by on December 5, 2017