Sticking A Fork in 2011

It’s the last day of 2011. I’m sitting on the couch, Moose is sleeping next to me, Riggo’s sleeping on me,  and I’m watching old episodes of The Rachel Zoe Project, which probably explains why, as I’m trying to figure out where to start wrapping up 2011, I’m tempted to use phrases like ‘it was so major’ and ‘2011 was everything.’

Ok, back to Earth.

2011 was a big year. A REALLY big year. It was probably a bit of foreshadowing when it kicked off in such a big way with the sort of unexpected addition of our second four-legged child (you can read about that here).

Life got a little crazier and a lot happier. And that theme continued for the next 11 months. In March, we got engaged. Talk about crazy happy. Then the ‘Year of the Wedding’ really began with Christine’s wedding in April.

It was a perfectly intimate affair, the love between her and Aaron permeated the room. My favorite memory was the end of the night. All their friends were outside, music playing on the ipod, and somehow we ended up in a giant circle, arms wrapped around one another, swaying to the music in celebration of the happy couple. It was a moment that leaves you thinking, “THIS is what it’s all about.” Everything else is just details.

But the details are fun too.

The rest of the year looked like this in chronological order: Jackie’s Bridal Shower, Alex’s Bridal Shower & Bachelorette weekend, TJ & Caitlin’s wedding,  Kacie’s Bridal Shower, Dominican Republic for Alex’s wedding

Jackie’s Bachelorette party, Kacie’s Bachelorette party, Joey turned the big 3-0, Jackie’s wedding

….Kacie’s wedding

Steve & Heather’s wedding, Joey and I hatch our wedding plan, my bridal shower, Our wedding…

Our First Dance 

Sprinkle in the usual lunch/dinner/coffee/skype dates with friends, weekend trips, family get togethers, and holidays and holy moly was this year full. To the brim in fact.

Let me get a little sappy now and bring this sucker home. 2011 was what IT is all about. Friends, old and new, supporting one another, love, happiness, fun, laughter, family, growing, learning. The lessons were all there. I’ve watched so many of my girlfriends, my sisters, climb mountains this year and come out victorious. I’ve watched others navigate hardships with unimaginable grace and strength. The resolve of the human spirit has inspired me this year to say the least. We are all SO capable.

2011 set the bar high, but I firmly believe that the best is always yet to come.

Here’s looking at you 2012.

Bear Necessities


This girl is so necessary in my life. I think everyone needs that one girlfriend who when you say, “I’m jumping off a bridge naked tomorrow,” her reply is, “Ok. What time should I be there, and how are you wearing your hair?” Spending Friday night together just reminded me of how lucky I am.

I actually feel rather blessed to have several girls like Alex in my life. The kind that no matter how many miles you put in between yourselves, or how many days/weeks/months you go without touching base, you just KNOW if you ever needed them they’d be there in a flash. They’ll support you and cheer for you and make you feel a little less crazy during the times when you don’t know your left from your right.

It’s not always easy to do when things kicks into high gear, but we need to take time out to foster these relationships. Send an email, text, make a phone call to let these friends know they are appreciated. Because let’s be honest, in the marathon of life, it’s the people on the sidelines cheering us on that help us power through the next mile. Bear necessities.

Oh Baby, Baby

When life delivers, it DELIVERS — in some cases literally. My best friend Christine & her husband Aaron, and Joey’s best friend Justin & his wife Amee, were both expecting babies in September. Well, go figure that both of the babies decided to hold out past their due dates, and then go figure they both end up making their debuts into this world on the same day! Both little boys, too (we knew Christine was have a boy, but Justin and Amee were waiting to find out).

Christine & Aaron welcomed baby Connor in the early morning hours of Oct. 3, and Justin & Amee welcomed baby Owen Monday night. It makes my heart swell to know how happy they must all be feeling. Can’t wait to meet the little guys!!!

What Happens in Atlantic City…

…ends up on the internet 😉 You should know this by now.

After thinking all day about how exactly to put into words the celebration that was this weekend in Atlantic City (aka Bachelorette/Bachelor Party Central), I received a couple of emails from Jackie, our beloved bride, and Julia, her fabulous Maid of Honor. I can’t sum up the weekend any better than they did, so if it ain’t broke, I’m not trying to fix it. I will however add some visuals to go along with their words…

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From Julia the MOH:

Jackie’s Bachelorette weekend in AC was an absolutely fabulous time – gorgeous beach weather, excessive food, bachelors with questionable hairstyles, local commerce across the street, visits from security, and trying to keep up with the sweet dance moves from the brothers at the club! I think this weekend was just what Jackie needed to take a step back from the craziness of the past year and to remember that sometimes all that matters is laughing with your girlfriends about some penis straws lost over the balcony.  Jackie is definitely lucky to have such a wonderful group of family and friends who care about her enough to trek out to AC to celebrate the beginning of the next chapter of her life…

From our Bride:

Julia couldn’t have said it better! Thank you EVERYONE so much for this weekend. I had the best time — PERFECT weather for the beach, an obscene amount of delicious food, questionable bachelors, penis straws, security, dance parties, watching hookers and drug deals, sausage dresses, Aunt Loretta out dancing any of those cage girls, doing to dougie better than anyone at the club, and the fact that I actually slept until 10 am. Everything was PERFECT and I couldn’t ask for a better group to spend my bachelorette with.

People always say weddings bring at the worst in people– but what I’ve seen from my wedding planning/bachelorette/shower experience is how many amazing and caring people I have in my life. You have all gone above and beyond to make me feel special and I am truly overwhelmed by all the love and happiness each of you brought me. I really cant begin to express how grateful I am to have each of you in my life.

Next stop, weddingtown!!!

8/5/2011: Alex & Anthony’s Wedding Day in Pictures

I never knew a bride could be so relaxed on her wedding day. Alex seriously had some wedding zen going on, and it made for such a fabulous, enjoyable, memorable and beautiful day for everyone. Tropical Storm Emily had been taunting the Dominican Republic the two days leading up to the BIG day, but on Friday the clouds parted and the sun came out. How did we spend the morning? By the pool of course, we all took a water aerobics class and then took jumping pictures on the beach, naturally 🙂

Alex and her bridesmaid, Jill

There goes the Bride!

Alex & her Dad practicing their Father/Daughter dance

The Last Single Girl Kiss - stopping by the pool to say goodbye to her groom before heading off to our hair appointments

Time to get pretty - outside the resort's spa

We all got ready in Alex's villa -- talk about a view!!!

Doing my MOH duties and helping the bride into her gorgeous gown! I love this photo 🙂


I've never seen Alex so happy! She was so excited and happy to be walking down the aisle to meet her groom. I loved this moment.

Mr. & Mrs. Strawn! I told Alex to look up because a huge crowd had formed on the balcony above to watch her wedding. They were all clapping and cheering!

Alex and her MOHs. We love this girl!

The First Dance to "The Way You Look Tonight" -- so sweet!

The food was great and the reception was a blast! People were dancing their butts off, and while there was a nice breeze coming off the ocean, I’ve never seen people (myself included) sweat so much!!! When I changed out of my dress that night, my entire stomach was dyed blue 🙂 In my book, that’s just a sign of a really awesome wedding!

Another personal highlight of the day was giving my Maid of Honor speech. More on that to come soon.

Congratulations to Mr. & Mrs. Strawn!

The Great Maryland Pastime

It’s the most quintessential summertime Maryland experience — sitting by the water, picking crabs and drinking beer (side note: I just wrote “drinking friends” by accident, which definitely is not a quintessential experience, nor something I would endorse). What makes the experience even better, which is probably true of all life experiences, is the people you’re with. Which is why this past Saturday was such a blast, picking through two-dozen extra large crabs at Cantlers with a couple of fabulous ladies, Sara and Danielle, pictured above, and all of our Sig Others. We topped off the night with a trip to downtown Annapolis. I never get sick of this view…


We sat on the dock, enjoying some ice cream from Storm Bros. Ice Cream Factory, watching the tide roll away boats go by, talking about life and leisure diving (google it). A simply great summer night. The kind that leaves you with the feeling that Life. Is. Good.

And as a bonus — I get to check something off my summer list. 

Sneak Peak: Kacie’s Bridal Shower

First off, can we talk about what a fabulous “Shower Bride” Kacie makes? Gorgeous, right? Right. Moving on.

After a long, fantastic day celebrating our bride-to-be, I’m wiped and don’t have the energy to post about how all the planets aligned just right to create the perfect day and the perfect shower, but I couldn’t NOT quickly post the photos of the most EPIC jumping pictures of all times — complete with bow-bouquet action shots. So without further ado, I give you Bridey’s Got Ups:

And now for the outtake reel.

I love me a good outtake reel…

(Insert bathroom humor here)

More shower goodness coming your way soon!

I’m off to the couch!

Bay Day…And a Dress

After a very busy 4th of July holiday weekend, I tried to return to the idea of Planning Nothing this weekend since “open” weekends are about to get far and few between. Long story short, I decided Friday night to head down to my mom’s Saturday and, by something not short of a miracle, the fabulous Pam101 was available to come along too! Last time Pam101 ventured into Maryland it took months to get the date on the calendar. Maybe there’s something to this Planning Nothing thing. Or maybe it was the fact that I mentioned the words “Wedding Dress.” More on that in a minute.

The weather was beautiful today which meant putting the top down on Sally and enjoying the pretty country roads of Maryland on our way to Mama’s house. And then of course we took a walk by the water (after a bottle of wine and some crab dip), and had some fun playing on the rocks.

That’s Mama modeling for the next issue of Coastal Living magazine.

OK, but onto the dress. On a bit of a whim, I ordered a wedding dress from J.Crew a few weeks ago and needed some trusted opinions on it. The dress is a classically simple J.Crew dress, which I love because it leaves the door wide open for some great statement jewlery (like this piece, which I still can’t get out of my head). With my two stylists on hand, I tried on the dress and we had our very own little Say Yes to the Dress experience in my mom’s bedroom…

Having fun with some of my grandmother’s old costume jewlery…

I haven’t actually said YES to the dress yet, and do have about a month to return the sucker, but it was fun to get some input and see how the dress photographs without any annoying sales people rushing me along. Here’s a riddle for you — What has two-thumbs and loves the thought that her potential wedding dress arrived at her front door in a small cardboard box?

This girl!!

Hope you’re having a great weekend!

The “Dos” of Throwing a D.C. Bachelorette Party

For those of you who have been waiting with bated breath (cough cough Kacie cough cough) because you haven’t been able to get a sneak peak of the photos of Facebook (cough cough Kacie get facebook cough cough), well here we go with a recap of Alex’s D.C. bachelorette party and a list of “Dos” for anyone who’s thinking about planning a bachey-party in the district.

DO get a hotel room for the night. Getting ready with the party-goers is half the fun, plus it gives you a private space to shower the bride with racy gifts! We stayed at the amazing Mayflower Hotel, which meant tons of bars and restaurants within walking distance.

Matching t-shirts are fun, but in DC you have to up the swagger factor. DO create a “little black dress brigade” for the bride, with the bride wearing something bright so she stands out (ya know, in case the veil doesn’t tip people off…)

DO pick a spot for dinner that can easily accommodate your group, and makes splitting the check EASY (there’s no bigger buzz kill than tension over the bill). Many places in DC will do a fixed price menu for large groups, but we opted to go with Vapiano off Dupont circle. Vapiano is a European concept restaurant that serves fresh, hand-made Italian pasta, pizza and salads.  Each person uses a “chip card” to personally order their food and drinks, and then you pay for yourself on the way out! People took turns buying the bride her dinner and drinks. Oh, and they had happy hour drink prices until 10pm – Score! It was a great, casual, fun, and hip place to kick off the night.

DO get (or make) the bride a stack of “dare” cards to do herself and hand out to guests. Makes for fun pictures!

DO break out the glowstick necklaces to up the obnoxious factor of your bridal brigade!

DO encourage the bride to jump on statues for a photo op! This particular statue was outside Beacon Sky Bar. The bar had a great rooftop view of the city, but drinks are mucho expensive. Have a cocktail or two, and keep the party moving!

DO take the bride dancing when the bride says “I want to go dancing!” We decided on 18th Street Lounge (note: you’ll have to check your glowsticks at the door if you go here.)

(Alex and her Man of Honor, the proverbial Rooster in the Hen House!)

DO plan on taking the bride to brunch the next day. And there’s no better place to go than the Tabard Inn. The freshly made doughnuts with homemade whipped cream DO NOT disappoint!

Finally, DO give credit where credit is due! Alex’s other MOH was the brains behind the bachelorette party agenda, and the reason we scored a great rate at the Mayflower hotel. Colin, you’re awesome!!!

Coming later this summer: Kacie’s Virginia Beach Bachey party, and Jackie’s Atlantic City extravaganza!

Alex’s “Around the Clock” Bridal Shower

The theme of Alex’s bridal shower was “Around the Clock”, where guests are assigned an hour of the day and then purchase a gift that the bride would use during that time. For example, towels and fun bath soaps for 6am, dinner plates for 6pm and something more ‘adult’ for those assigned midnight 😉 I unfortunately don’t have a photo to show you of the invites (which I ordered from because I think they have really great prices and super cute cards) but this is what the invitation said to help explain the theme to guests:

Tick, Tock, Tick, Tock

You’re Invited to a Bridal Shower that’s

“Around the Clock”

Help us give Alex the “time of her life”

as she an Anthony become husband and wife.

Please bring a gift to this bridal shower

that can be used during your assigned hour.

Your Hour Is:______

The theme was carried through the entire shower. In the photo above you can see the clock centerpieces, and the heading on the menu, “Love is Timeless.” For favors, each guest found at their place setting little kitchen timers…

Not that I can take credit for it, or that anyone noticed but me haha, but I loved how the packaging on the timers said “Tick Tock Tick Tock” just like on the invites. Yeah, I’m crazy like that.

The hours that were assigned to guests were posted above the gift table so that the gifts could be opened in the “around the clock” fashion. A little make-shift sign helped remind guests to put their gift with their hour….

Oh, and maybe I should mention the venue! We decided to hold the shower at Co Co Sala in Washington, DC. A spot we chose for its reputation for great food, amazing desserts and trendy atmosphere. It lived up to its reputation….

Gotcha Kacie!

This wasn’t dessert, it was the amuse bouche! Chocolate fried dough, with a warm chocolatey center topped with salted chocolate sauce and nuts. That’s just how they do it at Co Co Sala!

All the dishes were beautifully presented and super tasty. I most unfortunately did not get a photo of the desserts because I was helping with the gifts, but let me just say that the desserts alone are worth a trip into the city. (PS: Just went looking for dessert pictures on their website and discovered you can do a 5-course dessert experience! If heaven was a restaurant…)

You know no bridal shower is complete without at least one little game for guests. To go along with our theme, and to keep the gift opening process fun, we set a timer while the bride was opening gifts. The person whose gift was being opened when the timer went off was the person who got a prize. Prize bags for guests were simple – one had wine stoppers and cocktail napkins, another little bud vases, another a pretty picture frame and the fourth had pretty stationary and pens. (PSS: If you have two guests named Anne, make sure the person who is handing out the prize bags knows which Anne you’re referring to before they hand over the prize bag. Alex, lets just say your grandmother was a little surprised to win a prize when she had given you your gift the night before! Whoopsie!)

Last thing to mention, and this has nothing to do with the theme, but since Alex is getting married in the Dominican Republic, we decided to choose a signature cocktail that had an “island” feel. We choose a drink called the “Cilantro”: Patron Silver, Fresh Cilantro, Lime Juice and Cilantro Salt. Cheers to our Bride!

So now we’ve had Jackie’s 1950’s Housewife Shower, Alex’s “Around the Clock” Shower and coming in July I’ll have details of Kacie’s shower…but of course no spilling the beans yet!