Monday, October 18, 2010

Baltimore Marathon Team Relay

This past Saturday, three of my friends and I ran a team relay in the Baltimore Marathon. The four of us ran track together throughout high school and we like to get together every now and again for some kind of running activity. Two of the girls live in New York, one lives in DC, and I'm out in Arlington. It was a great excuse for us to get together and spend some time together.

The elite runners at the start of the marathon.

Members of the relay team will each run a portion of the 26.2 mile marathon. For this race, the legs were divided based on difficulty. So the two legs that were mostly downhill (and therefore easier) were 7 miles each, and the two legs that had more hills were 5.7 and 6.3 miles each. Since this was the first time I ran a race this big, the other girls let me run the last leg, so that I could run through the finish line.

As the last leg, I got to my exchange point (mile-marker 19) early in the morning and was able to watch all of the elite marathoners pass by. Watching them run by, it was obvious how hard they each had trained to come to this point. Once the 3rd leg runner of our team reached me, I left my warm up clothes with her and started my 7-miles. Although I think there's a limit to how much fun you can have while running 7 miles, I really enjoyed it. The weather was gorgeous and the spectators were awesome. Almost the whole race route was lined with people and volunteers cheering and handing out gummy bears, beer, Gatorade and water.

A random spectator

The elite marathoners are certainly an inspiration to see, but for me it is much more incredible to watch an average person finish a marathon. It is such an enormous accomplishment and I know they will remember that race for the rest of their lives. The people running are just so normal. If you saw them in the grocery store the next day, you would have no idea that this person just ran a marathon. The end of the race is very emotional for some people. People are crying, limping, bleeding, and whatever else, but they still manage to get across that line.

I ran next to this Marine for the last few miles, and of course it made me think of Justin. He is in California right now, in the middle of the very last deployment training he and his battalion will complete before they leave for Afghanistan. Justin is one of the people that keeps me motivated to run. He runs and trains almost every day, even if he's in the middle of a war zone.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

a new birthday tradition

Justin and I started a tradition this year of baking birthday cakes for each other. Personally, I think the one he made was better.

The cake I made had two layers, but since it had to travel from VA to NC in a hot car, it was kinda dried out by the time we ate it. That definitely cost me a few points.

Crappy photo by me. Cake recipe from Smitten Kitchen, icing from the back of the Hershey's cocoa box.

Just ignore the lumpy sides above. SOMEHOW my cake [and picture] just didn't turn out as beautiful as Deb's little work of art did:

Smitten Kitchen in all it's glory

Hopefully our cakes will improve with practice, but for now I'm just happy we got to celebrate both of our birthdays together this year!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

time to get serious

Ready to see some progress in our wedding plans? Here are the [very few, but very large] things we have decided so far:

Date: Saturday, October 15th, 2011!

Middleburg, Virginia

picture from Holly Hudspeth Eventing

picture courtesy of Preservation in Pink

*random tangent: I was looking for a picture of downtown Middleburg, and the very first website that came up was a blog written by a friend of mine. Kate and I both grew up on Long Island and ran track together in college. She is a Historic Preservation super-woman. You can read all about it here on Preservation in Pink.

Justin grew up in the tiny town of Middleburg and his parents still live there. It's a special little place surrounded by farms, horses, wineries, and cute little antique shops shoppes. A few weeks after Justin and I got engaged, we went out to Middleburg one Sunday morning to go to church and lunch with his parents. All the sweet ladies at church had heard the news and they just smiled and stared at us all morning.

Choosing Middleburg instead of somewhere near my hometown was a hard decision for me, but I know it was the right one. It will be easier for me to plan it down here and the church really means a lot to Justin. And hopefully it will be somewhat of a "getaway" weekend for my NY family and friends.

Ceremony Venue:

The United Methodist Church of Middleburg, VA

both pictures from the church website

Reception Venue:

The community center is going to be a great wedding venue. It has some really beautiful features and the inside will make a great "blank slate" for all the decorating ideas I have been collecting.

SO - what do you think? I'm so glad we ended up picking a day in October. It's not at all what I thought I would want, but now that the decision is made I couldn't be happier about it. October is so reliable. There is no hurricane threat and there is no spring rain to worry about. It could be hot, it could be cold, it could be windy, it could rain.... but none of these things have ever stopped a wedding before. If next October is anything like this October, it's going to be gorgeous!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Country Living Fair

This weekend I will be traveling to Columbus, Ohio for the County Living Fair. Hosted by Country Living magazine, it is usually a HUGE event. I'm super excited because I know there will be so many great vendors and so much inspiration! I will be working with my cousin, Maryellen Kim of Twist Style, on partial baby-duty and partial vendor duty. Sounds like a GREAT combo to me!

It's supposed to be hot on Friday, cool on Saturday, and possibly raining on Sunday. This is certainly going to be a tough event to pack for... you know you can't work at a huge craft fair and not dress cute! Wish me luck... I'm sure to need it!

Friday, September 17, 2010

quarter century

Hello, hello! I am most definitely happy to see Friday. Today is a super special Friday because my faaaaaaaaavorite person in the whole world is TURNING 25 TODAY!!! Happy, happy, happy birthday to my husband-in-less-than-a-year.

Dear J,

In honor of your 25th birthday and with our very special pre-marital counseling book* in mind, I'd like to list a few things that I respect and admire about you.

#1. You drive a sweet truck. And in the off-season, you take me for romantic sunset drives on the beach. Sometimes you let me drive... I always get your truck stuck in the sand, but you don't ever mind.

#2. You like really giant beers.

#3. You are very proud to be a United States Marine and you like to defend the many freedoms we enjoy in this fine country. (I'm proud, too.)

#4. You love to run.

and last, but not least...

#5. You make a great dance partner.

Happy 25th Birthday!!!

...and for everybody else, hope you have a great weekend!

*more on that later

Thursday, September 16, 2010

little gifts

I live in a four-bedroom house with 3 other girls. Since two of the roommates from last year moved out to get married, we had two new girls move in. We got lucky with craigslist and were able to find one girl to move in for the year, and another girl to move in for the summer. Both girls ended up being a great fit for us!

Sadly, our new summertime friend moved out this past weekend to continue her Master's degree program. As a little parting gift, I made her this rosey fabric flower pin. Flower pins aren't for everyone, but hopefully she likes it enough to pin it onto a sweater or jacket one day this fall.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

redeeming qualities

Work gets crazy sometimes and it's nice to have somewhere to take a break. Luckily, the company I work for is located in a great place. The building we occupy has a rooftop patio with an amazing view of the Washington DC skyline.

(Now if only people would stop using my relaxation patio as a smoking room, all would be right in the world...)

The building also sits right on top of a network of local bike trails. There's a cute little half mile loop that walks you right through the woods and on the streets of a quiet neighborhood. It's a beautiful way to take a break and get some fresh air.

I hope everyone is enjoying their workday today!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

a Fredericksburg kind of day.

I was in Fredericksburg, VA for a quick visit on Saturday.

The morning was spent with my beautiful, sweet, adorable, incredible jewelry designer cousin - Maryellen Kim of Twist Style. She was doing a trunk show at a cute little shop in Freddy named Two Sister's Boutique. If you're ever down that way, stop in at the shop to say hello to the ladies - they are all so nice! While Maryellen was working away setting up her display and jotting down custom orders, I was the lucky girl kissing her cute baby's little cheeks off.

Here's Maryellen with her tiny new baby, Leo

After Maryellen and I said our goodbyes that afternoon, I headed downtown to meet up with a good friend. She and I were roommates for three years in college and we're both still living sort of nearby, so we make the effort to see each other every once in awhile! Usually when we're getting together, there are 8 of us. We missed the other girls, but I think we both enjoyed having some one-on-one time this weekend.

For our late lunch/early dinner, we met at J Brian's tap room. This is a funky little place that plays great music and has a great little patio. The whole reason I chose J. Brian's was for a quesadilla dinner that I remembered involving portabello mushrooms. Unfortunately, they don't seem to serve it anymore, so we had crab dip and nachos instead.

All in all, it was a great day. Sometimes it is just so nice to escape the chaos of Arlington. It must have tired me out just the same, though, because I managed to sleep through my alarm and miss out on my Sunday plans! Oh well, it ended up being a super relaxing day. I managed to read this entire book. Loved it, of course.

Monday, September 13, 2010

In Her Shoes

While I was hanging around being lazy this weekend, I happened to catch the movie In Her Shoes on TV. I've seen this chick flick a bunch of times already, but this was the first time I watched it since I got engaged... the first time since I crossed over into CrazyLand. You know what I'm talking about. When all of your conversations begin to gravitate directly towards ooonnneeee topic, whether that's what you want or not?

With my new crazy-girl eyes, I was acutely aware of the adorable wedding coming up at the end of this movie. The awesome, low-key Jamaican Jerk Hut wedding venue, the music, the simple decorations, the delicious-looking food. It's a good one. If only every wedding was that simple! Hollywood does a lovely job of skipping over all the oh-my-god-I'm-going-to-rip-my-hair-out moments and showcasing for us the perfect prettiness and ease of this lovely little event.

I love the glittery "going away" blazer she's rocking in this shot!

PS - the dress is tea length!

one pic from here
the rest from are from a google image search, buuuut the website they came from was questionable content, so I think I'll leave it off of the credits this time ;-)

Friday, September 10, 2010

the first Wedding Purchase...

Having been engaged for 9 months now without making any solid plans at all, I am getting antsy to get some things accomplished! The Boy and I have done a considerable amount of research and now it's just a matter of getting things booked. I'm not exactly sure what ORDER I will need to book my vendors. (If I book the caterer first, what if the church isn't available that day?)

Although we may not end up using all of these, here's what I'm thinking for now:

  1. Church & Pastor

  2. Caterer & waitstaff

  3. Photographer

  4. Band/DJ

  5. Tent/dance floor (etc) rentals

  6. Florist

Anyway, in my eagerness to get things started, I am going to do some little things that I can get out of the way. That way I can bring things up to New York during visits to my family. (Oh by the way... we're getting married in New York!! I grew up on Long Island, and we're trying to have the whole shindig in my itty bitty home town.) If I start transporting things now, that will make things easier when the wedding gets closer... um, right?

The first thing I bought was a set of 200 bubble wands. I think it would be fun to use these a few times during the day: the church exit, the first dance, and whenever else. One thing you should know about me is that I am... Or frugal. Or is it practical? I don't know why, but I don't really like to spend money, and I especially don't like to spend it on c-r-a-p like this that I won't ever use again. So I hunted online for the cheapest place to buy them. I tried Oriental Trading and Dollar tree, but the least expensive option was the ever-dreaded WalMart. ::shudder:: In order to avoid shipping fees and actual shopping inside of the store, I completed the purchase online with a "Site to Store" pickup. Let me just tell you something. If you have to shop at WalMart, always, always use the Site to Store option. I walked into the madhouse that is WalMart on Labor Day, and zipped to the back of the store and checked out with a cashier that only had one other customer. It was a real life-saver.

So... I get home and open up the box of bubbles. They look adorable and not cheesy/cheap like I thought they would. I remove one of them from the storage packs and I realize that it's all sticky. Turns out just about every single one of the bottles had leaked somehow. The tops were still intact and securely fit, but they were all a sticky mess. Basically every single bottle in the pack of 200 is empty or close to empty.

Now the question is - would it make more sense to brave the WalMart returns line (ugh...) or to attempt some homemade bubble concoction and drive myself crazy trying to fill the damn things with a tiny funnel?

Oh and PS: these people met and got married in WalMart.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Michigan wedding

Two of my best friends got MARRIED this past weekend! Erica and Tommy had a big, huge tent wedding in Michigan on Saturday. The weather was unusually chilly, but I loved the way everyone looked wearing sweaters over their dresses. It really got me in the mood for fall and apple cider. They did an awesome job designing the whole thing, using mason jar collections from both of their mothers and bouquets of yellow sunflowers on the tables. My camera was being moody, so these pics are all stolen from friends. :-)

Tommy and his parents... don't they look proud!?


Monkey & Gorilla cake topper

bow chicka bow waaaow....

There were a LOT of great dancers there, but Tommy's parents were my personal fave...

Tommy, Erica, and their families were sooo welcoming the whole weekend. Justin wasn't able to make it up to Michigan, so I was flying solo. Everyone really went out of their way to include me in the festivities. When I look back on their wedding, I know this is the impression I will carry with me. I hope someday people will say the same thing about our wedding!!

This wedding is the conclusion of my "wedding season" this year. How about you guys - are you still going to weddings this fall?

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Running of the brides...

Have you ever seen [or seen footage of] the Running of the BULLS? I saw the event for myself a few summers ago in Spain, and let me tell you - it's violent and pretty brutal to watch. I cringed the entire time, thinking of the treatment of those animals. There's a good reason for the bulls to be running away, I'll just say that.

The Line.

Well, after my experience at the July 30th Running of the Brides event in DC, I can understand why the two events are compared. Now, I don't mean to imply that the brides are tortured before they are finally released from capture (like the poor bulls), but a lot of the bride[zillas] DO behave like out-of-control animals. They bring their enormous crowd - some brides-to-be brought 30 people with them!! - and they push and shove and yell at each other. They don't share, even if they KNOW they don't like the gown/s they are holding onto. Sometimes the reason is bargaining; they want to be able to trade for another dress. Other times, it's just for the sake of holding onto the most dresses in the store. Crazy b*tches.

These fine ladies are about to go insane.

Anyway, the Running of the Brides was not for me. Even if the girls were totally nutso, I could have handled that. I mean, that's all part of it, right? The craziness and excitement of buying a wedding dress.

The part I didn't like is that most of the dresses were disgusting. They were filthy from too much handling, a good portion had broken zippers or torn and tattered fabric, and one even had coffee spilled all over the train! Come on, now. I know they're on super-sale, but you can't tell me someone is paying $250 for a gown with coffee spilled all over it! Am I right?

the friends!

Despite not finding a dress, we did all have a fun time going! The experience is totally unique and now I can say that I've done it. I can watch the news next year and giggle at all those crazy people.

Me, my aunt, my mom (can you tell?) and Mo$.

My mom and my aunt drove all the way from Long Island to get up at 6am and wait in an absurdly long line, just to watch me try on wedding dresses in my underwear in front of strangers. Aren't they the best?

Mama and me.

Two of my bridesmaids that live nearby also braved the crowds with us. Oh... um, we haven't actually asked any of our bridal party if they will please be our bridal party yet, so shhhh. Hopefully soon.

Some of these dresses were OKAAYY, but I didn't particularly like any.

Ignore the sports bra. I know, I'm classy.

This last picture is a dress that I actually did love. Lace wedding dresses are beeeaauutiful. The lady wearing it ended up buying it, so I never had a chance to put it on. Oh well, wasn't meant to be I guess.

Now, if you're thinking about going to this event, I would still totally recommend it! I know, I know, I just bashed it for a whole page. Still, though, it's an experience. Maybe you won't find your dream dress, but maybe you will. I've still heard more positive reviews than negative, so you just never know. Maybe it's just the one in DC that sucks. ;-)

See you hot mamas next time.

Best fiance bday

How do you guys like the cake J-baby made for my birthday this year?

Back to regular posting soon! Life has gotten in the way.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

before and after 24

I play this little game in my head sometimes....

What was I doing one year ago today?

This time last year, I was sad that my boyfriend was deployed in Iraq for my birthday. My roommates did a great job making up for it, though, and we went out to my favorite little restaurant down the street and I drank pink champagne. YUM. I was turning 23, and I was thinking about how dull life would be if I had to work at my job forever.

What will I be doing one year from today?

A year from today, I will have just turned 25. A Big Birthday - no longer my dad's little baby girl. My now-fiance will have just returned from a 6 (or 7, 8, or 9) month deployment, and we will either be doing some last-minute wedding planning or some not-so last minute wedding planning (we don't have a date yet!). Both of our leases end in July, so we might even be living together.. who knows?

It's nice to think that every birthday from here on out will be marked by activities, milestones, and life together with my very best friend and soon-to-be husband.
This past weekend, the boy very graciously baked a cake for my birthday. It was the first cake he has ever made. He made the buttercream frosting himself and decorated the top with the words "best fiance bday" in pink icing, which I found adorable. and maybe kinda confusing :P

about a year ago

Monday, August 9, 2010

hint hint

Today is the best Monday I have had all year. Not only is it my BIRTHDAY (wee!!), but I also received a new job offer this morning! I'll give you a hint...

Teacher - Originally uploaded by dilunde

...more details to come!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Getting ready with the ladies

A wedding is a great excuse to spend some QT with your best girls friends, gettin' your nails did at the local hole-in-the-wall salon. Here's two of them, enjoying their sorta-questionable foot bath:

After our nails were all prettied up, a few of us headed over to the hotel to get ready with the bride. My friend Stef is great with hair and make up, so I asked her to style my hair for the night. I'm so glad I did - she did a great job and I didn't have to worry about it. Here she is, doing makeup for one of the other bridesmaids.

(PS - Stef is also an awesome personal trainer in Baltimore!! Her info is listed on Baltimore Bride.)

The morning of the wedding day was nice and relaxed. Kalyn's nieces all got their hair done, so it was fun to hang out with them at the hotel all day. She has A LOT of nieces and nephews... kids have a great way of keeping things laid back. (or sometimes doing the exact opposite...)

Pat's sister also has an adorable little one. The poor baby wasn't feeling good on Friday, but she seemed fine by the wedding on Saturday evening, luckily. How cute is this pre-wedding pedicure? Lucky little girl!

Kalyn and Pat hired Melissa Barrick as their photographer... I can't wait to see how her pictures came out. She and her assistant were so friendly and easy to get along with. It really goes to show how important it is to hire vendors that are people you like! They both made the whole experience very enjoyable.

Kalyn & Pat's engagement pics are here (Melissa's website) and here (Kalyn's blog), if you'd like to see some of Melissa's work. She also posted a sneak peak of their wedding pictures & day after shoot.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Annapolis wedding - the rehearsal

Two of my best friends were married to each other on Saturday. Kalyn and I were roommates for three years in college, and both of our guys went through a lot of their military schooling together. The four of us have so many memories together, and it was awesome to see them through such a special time in their lives. Since the boy and I were lucky enough to be in the bridal party, we spent all weekend with Kay and Pat.

Here they are! Practicing the aisle walk...

A table full of crabs !! YUM.
The beach-side ceremony rehearsal was followed by a ridiculous buffet. We ate every kind of seafood and drank ice cold beers. If you're ever in downtown Annapolis, make sure to stop at Buddy's Crabs and Ribs for an amazing feast.