Oy

Oh, the day I’ve had today. Aren’t Mondays supposed to be bad enough normally? I’m dealing with a whole truckload of crap having hit the fan today, so instead of going into it too much just yet (need… time… to process…) let’s just go over the pretty pretty photos I took at the Farmer’s Market on Saturday, yes?

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Fluffiest. Dog. Ever.

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The absotively wunderbar Jessica met up with me at the Farmer’s Market because she is an angel. She offered to bring me a few cupcakes she had made because I was sick all last week, and when have I ever said no to cupcakes?

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They were swearword-worthy amazing. Moist and dense cake that was not crumbly in the slightest, and perfectly sweet-but-not-too-sweet frosting. Strawberry cupcakes with elderflower icing AND mango with coconut cream cheese icing. I think. All I know is they looked and sounded fancy, so I might have gotten the details wrong. Either way, they were FANTASTIC!

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They did not last the entire weekend, and that’s all I’ll say about that.

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Though I will say, I kind of wish I had saved at least one for this absolutely abysmal day. Though I am trying really hard not to use food as a crutch for my emotional issues (of which there are many, but at least the ones today are justified). Then again, I have had a REALLY crummy day.

Oh, choices, choices!

I’ve Got (New) Friends in All the Right Places

Happy Monday, folks! Time to attempt to recap the second part of my wine-filled Saturday. Part one’s photo explosion was posted last night in order to avoid giving you all seizures from too many photos, and included visiting two delightful vineyards with Jen & the BroLo.

Gazebo 2Love

After sobering up from my vineyard adventures, I headed off to meet blog reader Kari for dinner. She was visiting her friends in DC and very sweetly extended an invitation to dinner, as well to enjoy cupcakes, games, and more wine at her friend’s house afterward! I couldn’t turn down an opportunity to continue my wine diet, so off I went!

Kari
Hi Kari!

I met up with a big group of new-to-me friends at Landini Brothers, a fancy Italian restaurant in Old Town Alexandria.

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I knew from looking at the menu beforehand that it was going to be an expensive meal, but I don’t know if I was completely prepared for how much dough I was going to be dropping that night, haha. It just all happened so fast! Between there being a little confusion over the wine that was ordered for the table, the automatically included gratuity, and my failure to ask for the prices of the specials, I ended up with a $60 dinner bill. Urk. (budget? What budget?)

At any rate, the food did taste good, at least! I started with a small caesar salad:

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And followed it with the salmon special of the evening:

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Now, my salmon was cooked perfectly, and overall the food was very good. But I’m sorry, for $29.95 I really feel like I should be receiving more than FOUR FINGERLING POTATOES. I was satisfied with my portion from a stomach-size perspective, but considering how incredibly expensive the food was, I think there should have been more going on. If not by providing more food, then at least drizzle a little reduction-of-something on my plate to jazz it up, y’know? Ah well. The dinner conversation was perhaps a little more brazen than these delicate ears (HA!) are accustomed to hearing, but overall it was really fun to get to broaden my social horizons and distract myself from real life. And the night was only half over after dinner! (Well, to be fair, another quarter of the night went to figuring out how to split the bill, hahahaha.)

Pour me a glass
Golden Girls

Next on the docket was the aforementioned cupcakes, wine, and games! Morgan and her husband Zachary were kind enough to invite me, a total stranger, into their home, hahaha. They have the most adorable little cats!

Grrr.I can has killz you?
Er… who look like they want to kill me here. Hahaha.

They also have the niftiest wine bottle opener. I was a little intimidated at first, but seriously, it made shucking out that cork the easiest thing ever. If this newfound need appreciation for wine continues, I may just have to pick one these puppies up!

Nifty!Noms

And the cupcakes. OH THE CUPCAKES.

Cupcake Extravaganza!

They were NOT kidding when they said they had a spread! They had cupcakes from Red Velvet, Crumbs, and… somewhere in Alexandria. I forget the name, whoops. But they were all delicious!

Coconutty

For clarification’s sake, we didn’t eat ALL the cupcakes. I had one full lemon coconut (!!) one, and then slices of the red velvet and carrot cake ones. Nommmm. After we had our sugar buzz on, we played a new-to-me Charades-like game called “Celebrity”.

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Morgan & Meera in the zone.

The game goes like this: everyone writes something down on slips of paper. This can be literally anything: celebrities places, events, topics, phrases, or just things. We then fold ’em up and toss them into a bowl. Then, in teams, players draw from the bowl and have to get their team to guess what is on the strip of paper. There are 3 rounds, and the same topics/strips of paper are used for each round.

Round 1: Like Catchphrase, the player has to get his or her team to guess the answer without saying any of the words on the piece of paper.

Round 2: Like Charades, the player has to act out their word/phrase without speaking.

Round 3: Like… something challenging, the player can use only ONE WORD to try to get their team to guess the answer.

The idea is that each round gets simultaneously harder and easier, since you already know what some of the answers may be from the previous round, but the methods of getting your team to guess are more challenging. That was terribly explained, but it was a lot of fun!

Ladies
Morgan, Kari, Me, Meera, and Lauren.

I was fail at getting a group shot with everybody who was there in it, but even if I didn’t get a shot of you (Zach, John, Megan, Aaron!), rest assured it was awesome to meet you!

How do you feel about meeting internet friend IRL (in real life)? After having such great experiences with meeting up with readers and other bloggers, I’m all about it! Always in a smart, safe way, of course. No stalkers, plz! 😉

The Book of Love

Please prepare yourself for the wedding-picture smorgasbord that you are about to witness. It’s even worse than normal this time. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Love in bloom

Saturday, I went to a wedding. A beautiful, love-filled wedding. It was an absolutely perfect tribute to two of my very good friends, John-Paul and Abby. But before there was a wedding, there was a rehearsal! And following that was the rehearsal dinner, complete with good food…

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Good friends…

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And great photobomb attempts.

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But the preliminaries could only last for so long. This was just the precursor to something even better, remember?

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Since Steve was a groomsman in the wedding, I got to tag along for the entire thing!

Photog at Large

And even though I wasn’t an official part of the wedding, Ben was the videographer so I was also there to help him out (which I did a little, when I wasn’t forcing him to take pictures of me instead, hahaha.)

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What can I say? Vanity, thy name is blogger. 😉

The gang's all here

The two of them decided to take a shuttle around Baltimore to take photos at some scenic spots before the wedding. If the whole “can’t see each other before the ceremony” thing isn’t an issue for you, I highly recommend this! It was fun because the whole wedding party was going around together, but also really special because they had lots of time to take the photos they wanted. Ben and I both snuck in a few shots (hopefully not pissing off the awesome photographer, haha) of our own.

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First steps
RingbearerSteve
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Turns out Baltimore? Kinda beautiful despite everything I’ve learned from The Wire, hahaha.

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The wedding was really beautiful, and was just so completely THEM. The unique venue, the colors, the nods to Halloween (their favorite holiday, of course!), the vows… all of it spoke to their personalities perfectly, as well as their combined efforts to make the wedding meaningful and personal. Both the ceremony and reception were held at Westminster Hall, a former church (now special event venue) that also happens to be where Edgar Allen Poe was buried! Neat, right?

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IMG_19072nd BestMrs.?
Err, Mrs.? Hahahaha.

Of course, what kind of weight loss/food/whatever-I-am blogger would I be if I didn’t take a beat to talk about the food? Oh man, the appetizers being passed during cocktail hour were INcredible. Warm crab dip? Why thank you, Baltimore!

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Also, cupcake cake. ‘Nuff said.

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The real marker of the wedding being thoroughly and totally THEIRS though, was the music. You can tell they put so much thought and consideration into the pieces they used. It didn’t hurt that it was all music I loved already – Joshua Radin, the theme from Friday Night Lights (amazing!)… pretty much the kind of music you’d hear on Scrubs. They even put the words to one of my favorite love songs on the back of the program… which was also the series finale song on Scrubs.

Primp

The book of love is long and boring
No one can lift the damn thing
It’s full of charts and facts and figures
And instructions for dancing
But I, I love it when you read to me
And you, you can read me anything

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The book of love has music in it
In fact, that’s where music comes from
Some of it is just transcendental
Some of it is just really dumb, but I,
I love it when you sing to me, and
You, you can sing me anything

With this ringFirst Kiss
First Dance

The book of love is long and boring
And written very long ago
It’s full of flowers and heart-shaped boxes
And things we’re all too young to know, but
I, I love it when you give me things
And you, you ought to give me wedding rings

Picturesque

Cupcakes and Pizza and Panda, Oh My!

Almond Cupcakes with Vanilla Coconut Buttercream.

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Cake = Love

So, maybe my makeshift piping needs work, haha. But these were the most delicious thing I’ve ever baked.

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Baked.

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Bitten.

Delicious & Done

Bye-bye.

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Viva la Pizza!
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Pizza time!

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Pizza made with Panda!

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Something's Cooking
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TJ’s whole wheat dought, mini heirloom tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, chicken sausage, fresh basil. Nom.

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Panda enjoyed.

PANDA EAT.

‘Twas a good Friday evening, if I do say so myself! Just came back from the farmer’s market with Jenn, and Panda and I are off to see Mamma Mia @ Wolftrap this afternoon! Updates tomorrow. Don’t forget to enter my scale giveaway! Happy Weekend!