First Baltimore Blate!

Monday, September 28, 2015

I may be more than a weekend behind by posting this today but I'm so excited that I don't even care. Last weekend was was my first official blate! For those that have no idea what that means (I'm looking at you mom), a blate is just short for a "blogger date" where super awesome bloggers, usually from the same city, meet up!

Last Sunday was my first one and it was such an awesome experience! I met up with Baltimore bloggers Megan from Soup of the Day, Macy from To Travel and Beyond, and Annie from The Demczak Days. These three ladies are the absolute sweetest and I've been virtual friends with them for quite some time. I've really gotten to know them on a personal level through blogging and social media, so getting to meet them in person was the best feeling! I never thought I would be able to say that I turned blog friends into real life friends but I am so happy that I can now!

We met up in Fells Point at Alexander's Tavern for brunch and enjoyed catching up over mimosas and some super tasty breakfast food. It was a beautiful day and I wish we could have stayed longer but I know that I'll be seeing these girls again really soon. We even talked about doing a possible blogger road trip down south so I'm looking forward to making that and many more blates happen!

Hope everyone had a wonderful weekend!

Woodberry Kitchen

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

You guys, last night was absolutely magical.

Mike made dinner reservations at my favorite restaurant in the city - Woodberry Kitchen - to celebrate our anniversary and I could not have asked for a more beautiful evening.

Since I've fallen behind on updating my "Food Passport" with all of the restaurants we've visited, I figured I'd start here by sharing a little about one of Baltimore's gems, especially for those that have never had the pleasure of dining at Woodberry.

Woodberry Kitchen opened in 2007 in the historic Clipper Mill area of Baltimore. It sits in a rehabbed stone-front factory serving up the freshest farm-to-table goodness. The head chef, Spike Gjerde, was actually the first Baltimore chef to win a James Beard award back in May of this year. It's sort of a big deal since it's never happened before and Baltimore isn't necessarily the first city you'd think of when it comes to culinary accolades.

Since it opened, Mike and I have only been there a handful of times, but that's really only due to the distance from our home. We would be there every night if we lived in the city (and if our budget allowed). But it's the perfect spot for special occasions... just like an anniversary dinner. ;)

We started the night out on the patio by the fire and then, much to my surprise, we were lucky enough to be seated outside under the stars and the glow of the bistro lights. We've eaten here a few times but the patio is always full, so we've never been able to get a table outside. After we were seated, the waiter brought over a bottle of prosecco and poured us two glasses. I asked Mike jokingly if that was his doing (assuming the restaurant knew it was our anniversary and they had set it up) and he told me that he had planned the whole thing! I couldn't believe that he had made the arrangements for the table and the bubbly! How lucky a wife am I? He continues to impress me every day.

We started with heirloom tomatoes on toast with verjus, fresh mozarella, soft herbs, and peanut pesto as well as a bartlett pear salad. For dinner, we enjoyed lamb with egg noodles in red wine sauce and Maryland Rockfish. And of course, there was no way we could leave without dessert, so we chose fresh cream ice cream with hot fudge and toasted marshmallow on top. Truly heavenly.

For those that have yet to visit, I seriously, seriously, highly recommend it. There is no better place in Baltimore to enjoy some deliciously fresh food and relax with friends and family.

Have a fabulous Wednesday!

Three Whole Years

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Today is our third wedding anniversary. 

It's crazy to even type that! It's so hard to believe that three years have already passed since the day we vowed forever in front of our closest family and friends. Every time September rolls around, I'm filled with so many emotions remembering our big day.

For us, September 22, 2012 was steeped in overwhelming excitement, the deepest love, endless laughter, and the most sincere joy. The entire day was beautiful from start to finish and we feel so incredibly blessed every time we look back on it to have been able to share it all with the most loving friends and family on the planet.

Over these first three years of our marriage, both Mike and I have had to do a lot of growing up. From graduating college and entering the "real working world" to getting married and buying a house, we've made a lot of changes. And during all of this transition, we've had a lot of curve balls thrown our way. We've lost beloved family members and seen others fall ill. We've felt helpless at times watching our parents try to juggle overwhelming stress and responsibility while also trying to figure out how to deal with our own. We've had our own share of struggles both physically and emotionally. We've missed deadlines and forgotten to pay bills. We've lost our patience. We've had fights and said things that we probably shouldn't. We've made our share of mistakes.

But while there's been some tough times, we've also been lucky enough to enjoy plenty of sweet moments, too. We've celebrated our own major milestones - birthdays and promotions, as well as those of our friends and family. We've gone on trips across the country, adopted our first little fur baby, worked on making our house a home, and made many great memories together. We've learned how and when to say "I'm sorry" and the true definition of compromise. We've found the importance in taking time to slow down and appreciate just being with one another.

Throughout all of this, we've only grown closer. All of the ups and downs have helped us to realize how much we truly value one another, how much we truly need one another, and how there's no one else we'd want standing beside us through it all.

Happy 3rd Anniversary, Mikey! I love you to the moon and back.

When your best friend gets married...

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Dear Katherine Elizabeth,

You have now officially been married for five whole days and I still can't wrap my head around it. It feels like just yesterday that we were chatting over coffee about how Tyler proposed and now, you are his wife.

I feel so incredibly lucky that you chose me to stand by your side as you vowed your eternal, unconditional love for one another. It was beautiful to witness and a scene I will cherish forever. You, my dear, were the most stunning of brides and you truly took my breath away when you started down that aisle.

It's hard to believe that 21 years have passed since the day I met you in Mrs. Reid's class.

Look at how little we were!

While I don't have any memories from that specific day (although it probably involved lots of crayons, books, snacks, walking on the silver line, and a glorious nap on our roll-out Disney nap mats) I am instead blessed with many years full of wonderful memories with you as my best friend, my shoulder to cry on, my shotgun karaoke partner, my Gilmore Girls cuddle buddy, my cookie dough supplier, and the sister I never had.

From our days playing soccer with your dad as the head coach, to eight years of band and trips with our mamas, to summer camps at Arlington Echo and all those years of girl scouts, we have been joined at the hip since the beginning. Although we don't share a bloodline, I have always felt like we came from the same family. Through the years growing up, your parents and sisters felt like my own. I'll never forget the countless times I walked through your front door without knocking like I lived upstairs, and sat down to dinner with you and your family. You all have always welcomed me in, and for that I am truly grateful.

Not a lot of people can say that they have someone in their lives that will drop everything to be there, no matter what. But I am one of the lucky ones.

Every phone call, every birthday, every breakup, every funeral - every stage of life, you have always been there for me. Even when we moved away to different colleges and we didn't see each other as often or consistently as we would have liked, we always made time for coffee dates in the Two-Toned Beast (you know it deserves to be capitalized), for road trips to no where, for shopping sprees and dinner, or even just time to hang out and do nothing.

It's hard to imagine how our lives are going to change now that we are both married and living on opposite sides of the bridge, but I can only hope that our futures continue to bring us all kinds of new adventures together as we raise families and grow older.

I want you to know that I am filled to brim with joy for you and Tyler. You deserve nothing but the best and I sincerely believe that Tyler is that missing puzzle piece. I just hope he understands when I steal you away from time to time, because there is no way I can live without my Kay Elle.

I love you so, so much. Congratulations and blessings to you both!

Love always,
Elle Jay