Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Thanksgiving 2011

In the blink of an eye Thanksgiving is over and the joyful sounds of Christmas are already playing on repeat in my car surrounding us. I must admit, I am thrilled this is the case, but that did not keep me from enjoying the wonderful Turkey Day this year.

This year my Thanksgiving consisted of a whole lot of driving. I started the morning in Gloucester with Jon's family, headed to Hampton to see my family, went Black Friday shopping with mom and Katie in Norfolk, back to Hampton, Up to Williamsburg to Christmas Town, back to Hampton, home to Richmond, down to Williamsburg to see some friends, and finally back to Richmond for good. Whew, I am tired just writing it. Every single part of it was wonderful though, and I am so thankful I got to spend it with so many loved ones.

This year I received a special Thanksgiving present from Papa, making me determined to find those Walhalla genes somewhere in me and learn how to fry things! I am 100 percent sure my shrimp will never be as good as his, but its worth a shot.

Watch out Fry Daddy, here i come!
I also got to spend the weekend waking up to this every morning:

Man I miss that.  

All in all Thanksgiving weekend was filled with spending lots of time with those I love, blasting Christmas music at 8AM the morning after T-day, Teaming up with Concetta to beat Jon and some others at Cranium, Papa's fried shrimp/some wonderful time with him and Nama, Multiple phone calls to Dad about the UVA/VT game (GO HOKIES!!!!!), visiting Reavis, Sarah, Emily and David in Williamsburg and did I mention some driving? All of which made the weekend a little more special.

This weekend will prove to be just as exciting as I head off to NYC with Concetta and our Moms. And nothing is better than Christmas time in THE city.

Oh, and stay tuned for another special event happening this week :) I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend!

Happy (Belated) Birthday, Katie!

Since my sister's 20th birthday fell the day after Thanksgiving, I was too busy spending time with her and the family to whip up a blog post about her big day.  So, I wanted to take the time now to wish her a very happy (belated) 20th birthday!!!

Katie's Birthday Balloons

Boo Bop, I seriously cannot beleive you are 20. Really. It is crazy. I love you so much and am so blessed have you as my little sister. I hope the next 20 years are just as amazing as the first 20 were, and I cant wait to watch you continue to navigate them so successfully!

Lovin from the bday girl, and trying to make a 20.

Next year, instead of laying in your bed watching Grey's at midnight, we will be having celebratory drinks! And that, for sure, makes me feel old. I LOVE YOU!!!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

10 Things I am Thankful For

In the spirit of Thanksgiving I wanted to share a few things I am thankful for:
  • My family. For always supporting me in everything I do and letting me make the mistakes I needed to, just to learn from them. For helping me find my footing after I had made those mistakes and always, always loving me no matter what.
  • CCW and JEF. Yea, yea - y'all are special. And since you both hate mushy gushy, just keep the laughs a comin'. <3
  • My amazing friends. The best in the world. period.
  • Microwaves. Because seriously, how else would I eat?
  • Hokies!!! (National Championship perhaps???? (Oh and a little Thanksgiving prayer too: PLEASE GOD beat UVA!!!!))
  • My Job.
  • Traveling! One of the things I am so lucky to get to experience, and so thankful for it.
  • Christmas time!!! (should probably be higher on the list). Sorry Thanksgiving but as much as I enjoy this thankful post, I love Christmas time 100000000 times more. It is TRULY the most wonderful time of the year.
  • Growing up on the water. Such an amazing thing to wake up to, and something I miss everyday in Richmond
  • YOU! For reading this blog, and (hopefully) enjoying it!
Happy (almost) Turkey Day everyone!!!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Los Angeles, Day 3 and 4

Sunday morning we woke up and treated ourselves to massages at the Bliss Spa inside the W. I think Jon was just excited about spending an hour and a half that morning without me jabbering on  relaxing, and I was certainly ready to be pampered!

After the star treatment, we headed to the Hollywood Farmer's. Lucky for us this market only opens on Sundays, and was directly behind our hotel! We spent about an hour admiring the beautiful flowers, fruits, veggies, and gift, and even picked up some lunch to enjoy in our hotel room. Gaucamole in LA = yummy.

Jon standing in the middle of the Hollywood Farmer's Market

That afternoon, after some strong convincing on my part, we boarded a celebrity homes tour. Ok, classy? Maybe not. But interesting? for sure. We spent the next 2 and a half hours dreaming about our future millionaire lives in Beverly Hills. Watch out LA, here we come.

Michael Jackson's gate where Conrad Murray called the police. RIP MJ.
Over the course of day 3 we also racked up the most celebrity sightings. So many that we had to develop a code so the other person would notice ("I have a headache" really where? "right side" or "left side"). Yea we are those people.

Those celebrities included Kevin Alejandro (True Blood), Nick Swardson, some Basketball Player - all within an arm's reach of us (and most just walking down the street, so keep your eyes peeled!).

That night we had dinner at Fig & Olive and headed to back early to pack and savor every last minute we had at our new favorite hotel, the W Hollywood.

Monday morning came all too quickly and we deceided to walk down Hollywood Boulevard before heading to LAX. I was so sad to leave but happy we got to see Hollywood & Highland, The Kodak Theatre and, of course, Dumbledore one last time.

One last picture under the Kodak Sign!
 As we boarded the plane all we kept saying was "we must come back soon!" And that was the end of our amazing vacation!

Last picture in our room before we left

Los Angeles, Day 2

Friday quickly came and went so we were on to our Saturday plans! That morning we rolled out of bed and got ready to head over to The Grove/Farmer's Market. From the moment I saw the famed Farmer's Market on Entourage, I knew it was a definite must for our trip. I have never had such a hard time choosing lunch in my life!

After a little shopping at The Grove and a delicious lunch at the Farmer's Market we jetted off to Rodeo Drive. Holy Housewives of Beverly Hills, what a shopping mecca! About ten seconds into exploring Jon regretted his decision to get out of our cab. A few hundred "oh my god, one day!"'s and 45 minutes of browsing later, our credit cards were safely on their way back to the W...for the most part. :)

In front of the Via Rodeo sign!
Since Jon was recovering from his minor heart attack after seeing the prices on Rodeo, we decided to spend the next hour at the hotel resting and getting ready for our most unique dinner of the trip! For my birthday my godmother, Pam, had graciously sent me a gift card to use at a dinner of choice, so we decided to visit the most talked about one in LA: The Bazaar by Jose Andres!

This restaurant was everything I could have hoped for and more, and by far one of the best, most amazing restaurants I have ever been to in my life. The whole restaurant focuses on a contemporary vs. modern theme and everything on their tapas menu is to.die.for. We ordered about 6 items, which included us getting to meet the chef and our poor prawn he would be cooking...before it met its untimely end. The food was truly extraordinary, and Jose Andres is an exceptional visionary. Don't believe me? Just look at the way our "tortillas" were served:

Tortillas by The Bazaar!
After stuffing ourselves, we headed back to the W for a night in the "living room" (the surprisingly popular bar downstairs). Around midnight Jon told me he wanted to close our tab and he disappeared to the bar. When I heard the 6 girls beyond us begin their choir of "awww"s, I immediately turned around and saw Jon holding a glass of strawberries and champagne to mark our 9 month-iversary and beginning of our last full day in paradise. Yes, we are one of those annoying wonderful couples that believe in month-iversarys. I guess he is a keeper. :)

Strawberries and Champagne!
Still have a day and 1/2 of recaps left, so stay tuned!!

Los Angeles, Day 1

One month ago today Jon and I were just begining our first big trip together. That was not the only reason it was significant though, it was also the first time he had been past Tennessee!

We arrived in LA at 12 AM on Thursday, and headed straight to a Holiday Inn near the airport to get some sleep and adjust to the time change. The next morning we anxiously woke up at 8AM and hailed a cab to the W Hollywood, where we would be living the remainder of our trip.

After checking in and admiring our amazing hotel room, we headed down Hollywood Boulevard to kill some time before our Warner Brothers tour at 11. Let me tell you, Hollywood Boulevard is quite the sight. So much hollywood history, mixed with so many weirdos.
Spiderman shooting people with his fake gun

Two spiderman spottings and one Dumbledore later, it was finally time to head to Warner Brothers. This was such a hightlight for us. Not only did we get to go behind the scenes of Warner Brothers, but we even got to sit on some history and take a picture in Central Perk! Not to mention, pass Ashton Kutcher on the way out.

That afternoon Jon wanted a nap so I headed off to Robertson Blvd do so some shopping. Imagine my suprise when I received a call from Jon to tell me the manager of the W had sent us a welcoming gift: wine, fruit, chocolate cake and a nice note! If I hadnt already fallen in love with the W Hollywood, that certainly sealed the deal.

I returned to our temporary home to see our gift and get ready for dinner at Katsuya. Oh.My.God. Talk about delicious. Seriously, go there.

After two cucumber watermelon mojitos and delicious sushi, we headed off to the Upright Citizens Brigade theatre to see a improv comedy show. This was something a friend of mine had suggested, and another highlight for us. For about 20 dollars we both got tickets on the stage, and enjoyed over an hour of hilarious improv. Another nice part about this is they sometimes have celebritys show up, and we were lucky enough to be there when one of the actors from "The League" was preforming.

We walked home that night and crawled into bed after a successful first day in LA, stay tuned for day 2 later today!

A Good Excuse

Not only have I slacked on the blogging, but I even forgot Thursday Top Three last week. Why? I was too busy singing at the top of my lungs to T-Swift with Jon and Concetta!

If you would like to hear more about our "enchanted" Thursday night, head on over to Concetta's blog!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Thursday Top Three

Ok, I know. Enough of these top three things, time for a real post. BUT I promise I am working on that. In the meantime I figured I should at least keep up the new tradition!

1. Wine glasses with built in straws

Picture via Pinterest

Some more sophisticated wine lovers will look at these and know they are for delicately sipping port wine, but I see them as a great way to maintain your pearly whites during a wine night. No more purple mouth in pictures?  Count me in. That is certainly worth 20 dollars!

2. Braclets that give back

Picture via Same Sky - Deck the Halls Braclet
Everyone who reads this blog knows I feel a connection to Africa, so when I saw this website I knew I had to include it in the Top Three. All of these braclets are made by African women, and the proceeds help support them. Not only do they help a women in need, but they are cute! What a perfect stocking stuffer! 

3. An impressive Hokies win!!!!

So this one, much like the the Humor one last week, does not really qualify of a material thing but I know it would make so many people happy tonight! I hope everyone plans on cheering on the Hokies tonight as they take on Ga. Tech! Let's Go!!!