Birthday Shenanigans.

Monday, July 21, 2014

With a beach trip to Ocean City, a party to say goodbye to family moving down south, another party with some of my favorite people in the world, and tons of drinks and delicious food, I seriously could not have asked for a better 25th birthday weekend.

It's still hard to believe that I've officially passed a quarter of a century! We packed so much craziness into our weekend that I couldn't possibly begin to describe all of the fun that was had. Instead, I leave you with a few snapshots from the weekend. Have a great Monday everybody!


 





 






Greek Summer Salad

Thursday, July 17, 2014

One of my favorite things about summertime is enjoying all kinds of fresh produce. Tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, peaches, berries - you name it - I am obsessed. And now that we have our own garden, it's nice to be able to walk out back and pick things we need for dinner without having to run to the store.

When I was a kid, I remember eating tomatoes straight from the garden while playing in the yard. When one was just ripe enough, I'd pick it, run to the hose, wash it off, and bite into it like an apple. Sometimes my mom and I would sprinkle a little salt on them, too, and I swear, they were probably some of the most delicious tomatoes I've ever tasted. There's just something special about food you've grown yourself. I've been so tempted to do the same thing with our garden now and I've had to restrain myself from gobbling everything up before taking it inside!

Right now, we have loads of tomoatoes beginning to ripen and a few cucumbers that should be ready for picking in the coming weeks. I've been dying to pluck them, take them inside, and throw them into some sort of fresh summer salad, so I'm pretty sure this greek salad recipe will be just perfect when the time comes!

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Greek Summer Salad

Ingredients

For the salad:
3-1/2 cups sliced cucumbers (about 1 large English cucumber or 2 regular-sized cucumbers)
1/2 cup sliced yellow onion
2 cups chopped tomatoes (about 4 Roma tomatoes)
1 small can sliced black olives, drained (2.25 ounce drained weight)
4 ounces crumbled feta cheese

For the vinaigrette:
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1/8 cup red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon salt (more or less, to taste)
1 teaspoon pepper (more or less, to taste)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon poppy seeds

Directions
1. Place salad ingredients in a large bowl. Toss gently to combine.

2. Place dressing ingredients in a small bowl and whisk to combine. Drizzle over salad. Serve immediately or cover and refrigerate

Let there be bonfires!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

It seems like we've been crossing things off left and right from my 101 list recently. We've made strides this summer to start tackling some of the big items and I really hope we can keep the momentum rolling! Last weekend we knocked out probably one of the most anticipated ones on the list:

#4 - Install a firepit and #96 - Have a bonfire!


I could not be more excited to finally have our very own place to build bonfires and roast as many marshmallows as my little s'more-loving heart desires. I just love sitting around the fire with friends and family with fireflies dancing all around us, telling stories, drinking wine, laughing and joking, and going to bed at the end of the night smelling like a campfire. Before, I could only enjoy those things when we went camping, but now we can do them whenever we want and only a few steps from our back door!


The project turned out to be relatively easy and took Mike only a couple of hours to complete. In a matter of one afternoon he bought all the supplies, dug the hole, layed the gravel, stacked the bricks and BOOM - we were ready to fire it up!

Here are a few pictures of the steps along the way in case you are interested in how we did it.




 
 

Mike ended up digging down a bit more inside the hole to make it a little more pit-like and for safety. Overall, I could not be happier with how it turned out and I can't wait to use it again!

Happy Hump Day!

Bengie's Drive-In

Friday, July 11, 2014


For me, summer has always been the best time for enjoying the outdoors. Whether we are hiking, camping, fishing, swimming, dining al fresco, or even just strolling down Main St. in Annapolis, Mike and I love to spend time outside as much as possible while the weather is warm.

And as of last week, we now officially have a new favorite summertime outdoor activity!

We went for the first time up to Middle River to experience a night out at Bengie's Drive-In Movie Theater and it was a blast!




We arrived pretty early since it was a Friday night and we weren't sure how long the lines would get (which we realized was a great decision later on when the crowds arrived). When we got there, we paid only $10 per person which included two shows. We saw Maleficent and the new Transformers movie. Later on in the summer, when the sun sets a little earlier, they show three movies, so we'll definitely have to go back!

They allow you to bring all your own food and drinks in for a small fee but since this was our first time, we hit up the snack bar.

My only complaint would be the insanely long wait-time to get food. We stood in line for literally 45 minutes to get popcorn and drinks. I'm also pretty sure the cashiers only have one credit card machine and it was super slow. If you plan to buy food there, I would definitely recommend making sure you stock up before the shows to avoid multiple trips and maybe bring cash, too.



We sat outside and watched the sunset and when the stars began to come out, the first show got started. Some people brought radios to tune in and watch the movies from outside their cars or in the back of their pick-ups (that's how you hear the movie - through FM radio) but most people stayed in their cars with the windows down. We were actually able to sit outside for the first movie and just listen on everyone else's radios, but for the second movie we moved to the car because it was getting a little chilly.

We really enjoyed both movies but I have to say, one of my favorite parts was getting to see the little vintage clips before, after, and between the movies. They have kept the same introductions and classic cartoons that they used to play back in the 50s and still use them today. It was so neat!

This has been on my bucket list for quite some time and I'm so glad we finally got to make it happen!

So excited to check this one off my 101 list
 
#36 - Go to a drive-in movie theater.
 
I can't wait to head back up there again!

How to Open Wine without a Corkscrew

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

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Oh my gosh. You guys, I literally just received the best tip EVER.

After catching up on my blog reading from over the weekend, I discovered this life-saving (okay, maybe not life-saving, but wine-saving) tip from Whitney over at I Wore Yoga Pants to Work.

Have you ever been stuck somewhere with a delicous bottle of your favorite wine and no corkscrew to open it?

I HAVE. And on more than one occasion, unfortunately - once when we were at the beach, once when we were camping in the middle of nowhere, and once at a friends house on the eastern shore when all the stores around us were closed. We were so disappointed and in all three situations we ended up using some sort of sharp tool to cut/shred/pry the cork out of the bottle - and dangerously I might add.

Well no more, my friends, no more! Check this out...



BRILLIANT!

Whitney also provides proof that it works and I honestly want to try this when I get home! Pass this on to your friends! Trust me, if they're wine lovers like me, they will appreciate it.

Congratulations Mr. & Mrs. Rei!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

There is no better way to celebrate a holiday weekend than with a wedding. On Saturday, we witnessed one of the most beautiful ceremonies I think I've ever been to. Our good friends, Matt and Alli tied the knot overlooking the water in Virginia and it could not have been more perfect.


Their love for each other and for God is so strong, you could practically feel it as you watched them recite their vows, exchange rings, and wash each other's feet (John 13: 1-17). There were so many kind words shared about them over the weekend and every single one of them was true. Matt and Alli are some of the most genuine, selfless, insightful, kind, and loving people we've ever met. We are so blessed to have their friendship and we hope that we continue to grow with them long into the future!



The weather - although a little warm - turned out to be downright beautiful. We could not have asked for anything better. It was great getting to know some of Matt and Alli's family and meeting all of the incredible people that have played a special role in their lives. They have touched so many people and it was truly amazing to see the outpouring of support and love on their big day.


 
 
 


  

 
 

Congratulations Mr. and Mrs. Rei! Welcome to the club!

July - A Month for Celebrating!

Friday, July 4, 2014

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Happy 4th of July!!

July has always been my favorite month and today my favorite holiday! July is not only home to America's birthday, but it's also officially summertime and my birthday month, too! I seriously can't wait to hit the beach to celebrate my 25th this year and do a little relaxing away from work! And as of tomorrow, we will have yet another awesome reason to celebrate during the month of July...

As you are reading this, we're probably somewhere on I-95 (hopefully not stuck in traffic) between home and Richmond, VA. We are heading down to the state of love for the holiday weekend to celebrate two of our favorite loves - how appropriate!

One of Mike's best friends, Matt, is getting married to the love of his life Alli!

We are so incredibly excited to celebrate their special day with them tomorrow and we cannot even begin to describe how happy and blessed we are to know two of the most genuine and sweet people out there!

We love you guys! Congratulations on your big day!

And for everyone else - I hope that you have an absolutely wonderful Independence Day celebration, full of fun, sun, fireworks, and red, white, and blue!

Dare Theory: Baltimore

Thursday, July 3, 2014

My friends and I are always looking for ways to have a good time in Baltimore. We love participating in bar crawls around the city for different holidays like St. Patty's and Halloween, going to explore new clubs and restaurants, joining the crowds downtown for Orioles and Ravens games, and I even tried my first Paint Nite this past Spring.

So, when I read about Dare Theory on Megan's blog, Soup of the Day, I knew I wanted in!

The whole idea of teaming up with friends, exploring the city, interacting with people to complete dares for prizes, making new friends, and enjoying food & drink specials at local hot spots sounds like a ton of fun!

Dare Theory - Baltimore
When: August 16, 2014 from 1pm – 5pm (with two hour pre-party/check-in and two hour post party)
Where: Baltimore Inner Harbor - Power Plant Live
How much: $20 through July 14th for Early Bird pricing

Check out the video below to see it in action:

 
Interested? Register here!

Also, right now, thanks to Megan you can get 15% off by entering code IMAGINED when you sign up!

Washington State Part 2 - Seattle

Wednesday, July 2, 2014


Local. Fresh. Original. Green. Scenic. Wet. Funky.

There are so many words you could use to describe Seattle, but these are just some of the ones I like to think characterize it best. There are so many facets to the city that the only way that you can truly understand its diversity is to experience it for yourself.

After our stay at Treehouse Point for the first half of our Washington State vacation, we ventured into the bustling city of Seattle for the second half. It was quite a big contrast from living in a tree, but there was so much to see and do, we no doubt loved every minute.

 
  
 

We spent the first of our remaining days there walking through the streets, checking out local shops at the famed Pike Place Market. We sipped the tastiest coffee, sampled incredible local and organic foods, watched the guys at Pike Place Fish Market toss around some salmon, marveled at the selection of gorgeous fresh flowers, and listened to the melodies of a variety of different buskers along the way.

 
 

 






 
 

 
 





We even stopped by the original Starbucks to grab ourselves a couple of lattes! Talk about a busy shop!





On the rainiest day, we popped over to explore the Chihuly Garden and Glass exhibit. If you've never heard of Dale Chihuly's work, I definitely recommend checking him out. I am not usually one that likes to go to art museums and browse for hours, but seriously, this one is worth your time. His story is so interesting and his work is breathtaking.

 



 
 
Mike was especially interested because for our anniversary last year, he worked with a local glass blower in Baltimore to make me a glass vase. He learned all about the glass blowing techniques and so it was really neat to see him get excited about this place.


My favorite view was from the glass house looking up at the space needle towering above us. With the rain tapping lightly on the glass ceiling, the vibrant figures appeared even more delicate and beautiful.




By far, the most exciting part of our stay in Seattle was visiting with my family. We were so lucky to be able to go out to dinner with them on two separate occasions and we didn't stop chatting and laughing the entire time. I so wish that we could have stayed longer and spent more time with them, but it just gives us an excuse to book another trip!

Washington State has most definitely found a special place in our hearts and we cannot wait to venture back to the west coast to explore again!