Charlottesville Weekend

Recently, I spent the weekend in Charlottesville, Virginia – and it was one of those amazing, fun weekends! Bridgette was running her second half-marathon, so my parents, her in-laws, and I all made our way to Charlottesville to cheer her on. Bridgette was an incredibly fast sprinter in high school, but she never considered herself a long distance runner… I beg to differ, now! Last year, she ran the NYC Women’s Half Marathon in Central Park, and this year, she did an amazing job with this half marathon in Charlottesville. I hadn’t cheered her on in running since her high school track meets, and I had so much fun (and I know everyone else did, too!) cheering our favorite girl on in this (very hilly!) race. Bridgette is such an inspiration & motivation, and I am so proud of her for accomplishing her goals!

 

My mom did such a good job making some fabulous (double-sided, even) signs/posters for Bridgette’s cheering squad, too. We definitely got our own mini workout in as we trekked across Charlottesville to several different spots to cheer B on! And, since Bridgette gave up eating tortilla chips while training for the race, we had tortilla chips waiting for her at the finish line. We then checked out the bustling Charlottesville Farmer’s Market, indulged in a Mexican feast for lunch, and then headed out into the Blue Ridge Mountains near Charlottesville for a fantastic afternoon/evening of winery & brewery stops – perfect!

Bridgette & Rob planned the afternoon out perfectly, as Veritas WineryAfton Mountain Winery, and Blue Mountain Brewery were all within five minutes of one another – so easy and convenient! We first ventured to Veritas Winery in Afton, Virginia for a wine tasting. Since it was essentially the first beautiful Spring Saturday, it was packed there! We did a great tasting of all of their wines & then sat outside at a picnic table enjoy the beautiful sunshine & Blue Ridge Mountains in the near distance. We then went just down the road to Afton Mountains Vineyard for another tasting. It was a much more intimate winery, and I just loved one of their white wines, the Gewurztraminer. We had a delicious picnic spread outside overlooking the mountains and the vineyards. As you surely know by now, this was a pretty perfect day – I just love wineries, picnics, being outside in the Spring, and spending time talking with my very favorite people. Perfection!

After our afternoon tasting wines and enjoying the views, we went just down the road to Blue Mountain Brewery, which is also a full restaurant with an extensive menu + beer selection. Rob and I attempted to conquer the beer sampler, which was ten tastings of all of their beers – but neither of us could quite make it through all of them! I know we all enjoyed our dinners and the atmosphere, and this was a great last stop for the day.

After all four parents left to head back to North Carolina on Sunday, Bridgette and I went to Pippin Hill Farm & Vineyards, which has long been on my winery bucket list! It’s also most definitely on my dream wedding location bucket list – wow, is it gorgeous! There are rumors of celebrity weddings occurring here, and I’ve also seen many stunning weddings featured in my favorite blogs at Pippin Hill. Someday I would love to plan a wedding here, too! Pippin Hill is a pretty upscale, but not pretentious, winery and restaurant, and the views are stellar. We went on the perfect afternoon, as the Sunday crowds were minimal compared to Saturday’s. We had the wine tasting area practically to ourselves, and the decor, outside patio, and views were spot on. I enjoyed all of the wines we tasted, and I’d love to come back and check out the restaurant one day, too. We each got a glass of white wine and took it outside to the fire pit area, soaking up the warm sunshine, vineyards & rolling mountains, and a great time with my favorite person.

Thank you, Bridgette and Rob, for hosting such a wonderful, memorable, and delicious weekend!! And check out Bridgette’s weekend recap here! She’s just the best.

Wedding | Orange Grove

southern-wedding-floral-napkinsI came across this wedding from Sarah Becker Photo and Southern Charm Weddings, featured on Southern Weddings this week – and it’s like a breath of fresh air! Orange is such a bright, happy, and refreshing color, and I love all of the natural elements and oranges used throughout this styled shoot to bring pops of color to the scene. It’s so summer-y and warm looking, which is a respite after the cold winter we’ve had. I didn’t realize that Louisiana has orange groves, and it’s fun to see the stylist be inspired by a place she loves (and one that is so beautiful!). I like seeing Southern elements being incorporated into this shoot, especially one that is so common in everyday life. How special would it be to center your wedding around something so personal to your culture, heritage, or childhood?!
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How gorgeous are the navy and white striped accents? I think we all know how much I love navy and white stripes! And I think I’m converted into being a lover of orange after seeing it used to classically in this styled shoot – especially when paired when navy. And I am loving her dress so much, too – it’s perfect for the scenery and occasion.
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You can bet I pinned many of these images (all via Southern Weddings and Sarah Becker Photo) – they are so cheerful and inspiring!

Weekend Visitors

I’ve had a lot of wonderful friends and family visit DC in the last couple weeks, which always gives me something to look forward to & plan for! I love making fun itineraries of a city that I know and love well – and sharing that city with friends and family that I adore.
Despite the rainy, rainy weather, I had such a fun time in the city when my friend Claire & my sister came to town! We decided to just make the weekend an eating tour of DC, since it poured the entire time. Not a bad choice, considering we all love good food & DC has plenty to offer! Restaurant highlights: Clare and Don’s Beach Shack, Georgetown Cupcakes, Pizzeria Paradiso, & Bayou Bakery
We also embarked upon a Cherry Blossom Boat Cruise on the Potomac River, which was a bit… lackluster! We bought tickets ahead of time, not realizing that it would be rainy, foggy, cold, and without a single cherry blossom. But we enjoyed being on the water, seeing the city, and spending time together.
The same weekend, my mom’s best friend (Nancy) & her daughter (Karen) came into town for Nancy’s birthday celebration – Nancy & Karen are lifelong (literally!) friends of ours and are more like family to us. We met up with them for an afternoon at Port City Brewery. We’re all beer lovers (well, maybe not Bridgette!), and it’s fun to take some beer aficionados to a local brewery that I frequent. And then we thoroughly celebrated Nancy’s birthday at Overwood in Old Town Alexandria with her sisters, plus a serious feast of delicious food and drinks!
I just love when friends and family come into town for the weekend… who’s next?!

Recent Reads

It’s about that time again for some book reviews! As y’all know by now, reading is an activity that brings me so much joy. I love devouring a great book that opens your mind, leaves you hungrily turning the page, and teaches you more about life and people. To me, reading is relaxing and necessary – I honestly can’t imagine not having a book to read every day. Of course, part of this comes from my hours on the metro each day, but it’s also a treat to crack open a book and get lost in another world.

Has anyone ever read A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving? I read this book years and years ago in early high school, and I recall loving the book. However, I couldn’t recall much else about it, other than the fact that it really moved me in some way. And now, many years later, I decided it was time to delve into this book again. (PS: Re-reading books is one of my very favorite things to do!) For the second time, A Prayer for Owen Meany did not disappoint – in fact, it kept getting better and better. What a touching, fascinating, and compelling read! If you haven’t read this book already (or if it’s been a decade since you’ve read it), please run to your bookstore or library and read this book. It’s one of the best books I’ve ever read, and you’ll find yourself falling in love with the characters and plot line, like I did.
I had heard rave reviews about The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt, one of the hottest books of the year. And one of the longest books! It was a good book that I really couldn’t put down (despite its length), but I’m not so sure I loved the book. It definitely kept me hooked, and I liked the premise of the book… but it got to be a bit long-winded and so many of the characters were just pitiful. I’d encourage you to read it (if you have the time!), and I’d love to hear your thoughts on this one.
As I mentioned above, I adore re-reading books! I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve read over and over my very favorite books – but let’s just say it’s a lot. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee is one of THE very best books I have ever read, and it was time to re-read it last week. Again, it affirmed just how much I love that book – every character, the twists and turns, the story, and the underlying morals/themes of this book. I would think everyone’s read this incredible book by now, but if you haven’t… then you must!
A new book I read this month was Mrs. Poe by Lynn Cullen. I’ve never read much about Edgar Allen Poe, besides his infamous poems, so it was fun to learn so much new information about Poe’s private life – including his wife and his mistress. I’m not sure how much of this book was factual, but it was fascinating to learn about famous authors in New York City during this time period and see why Poe wrote poems like he did. This book was a pretty easy and entertaining read – I liked it!
So, what have you been reading lately? What’s next in your queue? I need some new book recommendations for Spring Break!

Kellyn’s Bachelorette in Richmond

I also got to celebrate the upcoming wedding (this month!) of my dear friend Kellyn! We took a day trip to Richmond, VA, where Kellyn is from, for a trolley tour and afternoon tea at the Jefferson Hotel – what a fun day it was!

We barely made it to the trolley on time for our tour (one word: traffic.), but we did make it! I’ve driven right past Richmond hundreds of times, but I’ve never explored the city. It was so fun seeing the city from the vantage point of a trolley with a knowledgeable guide telling you all about what you’re seeing! Richmond is a beautiful little city, and I loved being able to learn so much new information about its history, people, and buildings. Monument Avenue might have been my favorite part with all of its stately, gorgeous old homes and commemorative statues along the street.
We all then went to the infamous Jefferson Hotel in downtown Richmond for afternoon tea and Kellyn’s shower! The Jefferson hotel is so historic and grand, and countless presidents and other famous people have stayed here over the last couple centuries. Margaret Mitchell, who wrote my favorite book Gone With the Wind, was inspired by the staircase at this hotel for Rhett & Scarlett’s home! We enjoyed a beautiful and fun afternoon tea together celebrating Kellyn’s upcoming wedding! We were served fragrant and flavorful Richmond tea, had several tiered trays brimming with tea sandwiches, scones, breads, fruit, and desserts, and were able to chat and visit – and then shower Kellyn with fun gifts! It was fun acting like ladies for our tea time, and I loved spending time with such sweet, hilarious friends.
Can’t wait for this gorgeous bride-to-be’s wedding in just a couple weeks – it’s going to be incredible and so beautiful!