Monthly Archives: June 2010

Happy 1st Anniversary!

I have a confession to make.  Pat and I are both bad at surprises, so we actually exchanged gifts on Saturday, the day before our official anniversary.  So our anniversary weekend (the best holidays deserve more than one day) was very special!

Pat shared his gift first.  While I was sleeping in Saturday morning, he was dressed and out the door early.  When I came downstairs, I saw a set up that was similar to what I saw when he proposed:

He had used the same digital picture frame, but updated it with pictures from our wedding.  It was very sweet of him!  For my gift, I updated a scrapbook I had given Pat on our first dating anniversary (March 2005), and on the last page I added an envelope that said “I La La Love You.”  La La Love You happens to be the name of a song by the Pixies… and inside the envelope were tickets to a Pixies concert 🙂  It will be a nice gift for both of us!

Sunday morning I made us an anniversary breakfast.  Eggs (or egg whites), veggie bacon, berries and coffee.

Pat had 3 eggs with bell peppers and onion on a wheat thin sandwich.  I had a wrap with the same veggies, 3 egg whites, and Laughing Cow garlic & herb cheese.  We both had strawberries, raspberries and blueberries.  The veggie bacon was from Morning Star – it really tasted like bacon, and was so good without the gross bacon texture.  Just crisp, thin strips.

We had a nice day around the house, and then went out to dinner.  We ate at Catalan.  It’s a restaurant we have driven by often, and we always comment that we should try it sometime.  So we finally did!  They had a very interesting menu, but it was different from the menu posted online, so I wasn’t sure what I wanted.

We started with the arugula salad (with blue cheese, roasted hazelnuts and cane vinaigrette).  It was one of the most amazing salads I’ve ever had.  I really liked the sweet but slightly spicy dressing.  It all went so well together.

We also ordered the tomato gazpacho soup.  It was chilled with chunks of cucumber.  I really don’t like cucumber, and even the creamy tomato soup tasted like cucumber.  But it was so refreshing, I ate a lot of it anyway.

We toasted our first anniversary with a glass of champagne.

After the champagne we each ordered a glass of wine.  Pat ordered a Red Zinfandel that he said went well with his pork chops.  I ordered a glass of Willi Schafer Estate Riesling.  It was soo good.  Just sweet enough, and not very acidic like some Riesling can be.

There was nothing on the menu (main dishes anyway) that was vegetarian friendly.  Pat told the server that I’m a vegetarian and asked what he recommended.  He said they could make me a veggie dish with corn and beans.  They made me a veggie dish, but it had no beans.  I was disappointed at first.  I was staring at a plate filled with veggies I don’t really like – carrots, squash, zucchini… and potatoes.  But it was actually really good.  I think it was mixed in a light olive oil sauce.

I think if you had told Pat when we first started dating if I would eat just a plate full of veggies on our first anniversary, he would never have believed it.  I’ve come a long way!  I ate almost the entire plate, and the best part was that I didn’t feel stuffed.  Good thing – we decided to order dessert!

We ordered the carrot cake with cream cheese ice cream.  It came drizzled in caramel, with blueberries.  It was sooo good, we ate the entire plate.  Although it didn’t say there was any coffee in here, we definitely tasted coffee in something.  Not sure if it was the icing, the ice cream or the caramel, but there was a coffee taste.

Catalan was a cool experience.  The decor was nice (we loved the chandeliers), and the service was great.  The server congratulated us on our anniversary, and was very attentive.  As soon as we finished one course, our plates were picked up right away and the next course was out shortly.  It was a great, romantic place for our first anniversary dinner!



As much as I love avocados and guacamole, I had never attempted making it myself until last night.   I was just really in the mood for some homemade guac.   I loosely based my recipe on the one in Joy of Cooking.

I started with the avocado.  I had one large and one small Hass avocado, so that was what I used.

Pat had to help me with mashing it up – my hands were getting tired.

I then added:

  • 2 tbsp lime juice
  • 1/2 yellow onion
  • 1 Roma tomato
  • 1.5 tbsp chopped garlic
  • 1 tsp parsley

It was very fresh and very good!  Pat and I actually ended up eating the entire bowl for dinner, with some Tostitos scoops.

Montego Bay, Jamaica

Wedding Recap, part 7…

I’m wrapping up the wedding recaps with some pictures from our honeymoon in Montego Bay, Jamaica!  We had a wonderful time.  We stayed at the Sandals resort.  Our room was beautiful!  We had an ocean view room, complete with not one, but two butlers.  If you’re going to stay at a Sandals resort, let me tell you that you need a butler.  Not only was it nice for having things delivered to our room, but our butlers got a great tables at dinner (the tables with the best views), and reserved our own hut on the beach.  Also, when we were running late to one of our excursions, our butler was waiting by the boat with towels and water.  How wonderful.

Our beautiful room and view:

Our butler would decorate our bed and room each night while we were out to dinner.  We’d come home to towel animals, a jacuzzi full of flowers, or cheese and crackers on our night stand.  It was wonderful.

Our first day there, we just explored the resort and enjoyed the “free” island drinks.

We ate at Tokyo Joe’s our first night.  You pick your meat and sauce and they cook it right in front of you, with a big flame.  We learned the very first night that Jamaica runs on its own time.  A restaurant that’s supposed to open at 6:00 PM might not actually open until 6:25 PM.  We took some pictures on the beach while we waited for Tokyo Joe’s to open.

And watched the peddlers on the beach.  They are very friendly.

Finally, it was time for dinner.

We were pretty happy with the food at Sandals.  Tokyo Joe’s was one of our favorites.  We also really liked Royal Thai.  When you stay at any Sandals, you can travel to other Sandals resorts for free meals.  Royal Thai was at another location, and it sits on its own island.  It was an awesome dining experience!  You had to take a boat to get to it.

The food was beautiful.

We ate breakfast on our patio most mornings.  I think they only got my breakfast order right 1 or 2 mornings all week, but it was nice and relaxing to have it delivered to our room.

We enjoyed lazing on the beach in our own hut all week.  We had cell phones to call our butlers when we wanted drinks or food delivered on the beach 🙂

Pat really loved the sail boats.  I went out with him a few times, but I was so nervous about the sail boats tipping over – we watched another couple tip over our first time out!  So after that, I just took pictures of Pat while I hung out on the beach.

We also took two excursions while we were there.  One was worth the money, one was not.  We really liked the excursion to the Ocho Rios Falls.  You get to climb a waterfall!  And they follow you with a video camera.  We were the chumps who actually paid $20 – 30 for the DVD, but it’s a cool keepsake to have. 

We were not impressed with the Margaritaville excursion.  It cost somewhere around $100 per person and included a 3 hour boat ride (with drinks), snorkeling, and a quick stop at the Margaritaville restaurant where they charge another $11 for a margarita – and although the trip was from 10 AM – 1 PM, lunch was not included.  And lunch at Margaritaville started at $20.  Maybe we’re cheapskates, but we could have enjoyed the free drinks, a free lunch, and snorkeling for free while at the Sandals resort.  All we really got was a brief boat ride, which was cool, but not worth $200 for the two of us.

My one disclaimer about our trip (if you are ever considering traveling to Jamaica, or staying at a Sandals there):  there was a lot we like and a lot we didn’t like about Sandals/Jamaica, but our overall impression was that while we would not go back, we’re glad we went.  Jamaica is a very poor country that lives on the tourist industry, so you are constantly being asked for money.  Also, we were kind of stuck on the resort grounds (or on expensive group excursions) because it wasn’t safe for us to explore the city on our own.  Part of the fun of traveling to new places is to explore a new city, but this trip challenged us to spend an entire week just relaxing on the beach.

Well that wraps up all the recaps.  Tomorrow is the big day – our first wedding anniversary!!  I’m super excited (just like I was for our first dating anniversary).  Pat has something secret planned… I love surprises.  Stay tuned to find out what the surprise is tomorrow!

The Reception

Wedding Recap, part 6…

We entered our reception to “La La Love You”  by the Pixies.  After the wedding party entrance we cut the cake.  It was cookies n’ cream on the inside – and so delicious!

Yes, we were a tacky couple that smudged a little bit of cake on each other’s nose – but not too bad 🙂

We enjoyed the cocktail hour with our guests (and a few appetizers – yes, I actually ate at my own wedding), and then everyone moved into a second room for dinner.

The food at dinner was so good.  The speeches were even better.

My dad was awesome.  He said that it would be cliche to say that he wasn’t losing a daughter, but gaining a son… so instead he said he wasn’t losing a daughter, but gaining a bug killer.  I’m famous for being terrified of bugs 🙂

After dinner we went back into the first room for dancing.  They had re-arranged the set-up while we were in the dinner room.  Pat and I danced our first dancy to “Lucky” by Jason Mraz & Colbie Caillat.  I just quizzed Pat to see if he remembered our first dance song and he passed 🙂  (he also asked that I give him full credit on the blog for getting it right!)

My dad and I danced to “Father and Daughter” (Paul Simon) and Pat and his mom danced to “You’ll Never Walk Alone” (Elvis).

We danced all night until they shut the place down at midnight.  At that point, the party moved uptown… but Pat and I were beat!  It was seriously the best day (and as I mentioned before, the best couple weeks) of my life.

The Ceremony

Wedding Recap, part 5…

Our wedding day started early.  Pat and I decided we wanted to see each other before the ceremony, to take pictures.  This way, we could join our guests for the happy hour immediately following the ceremony.  I’m so glad we decided to do this!  It made the picture taking less stressful, we had better light during the day, and we got to enjoy even more time with our guests.

I started getting ready at our house, with my team of hair and makeup artists (all family and friends) 🙂

I really wanted my hair to look like Bella’s from the prom scene in the first movie… I think it came out great!  After hair and makeup we headed to the hotel where our reception was going to be to finish getting dressed.  Pat stayed in the honeymoon suite the night before, and he vacated early enough so the girls could take it over.

Got into my dress…

And then headed off to see my groom…

Our photographer arranged for us to meet in a gazebo outside the hotel.

We took some pictures with just the two of us.  It was so hot and we were posing in the dirty grass… probably not the best idea right before walking down the aisle, but it made for some pretty pictures.

We also took pictures with our wedding party.

And our family.

And then headed to the chapel for our ceremony!  I didn’t get nervous until right before the wedding started.  I was so excited to be marrying Pat, but nervous to walk out in front of everyone.  Our candle lighter went first to light memorial candles in honor of our grandparents.

Our mothers used our grandparents’ candles to light their unity candles for us.

Our wedding party walked down, and then the flower girl and ring bearer went down.  They did an awesome job.

Then my dad walked me down the aisle.

And then, it was time for us to get married.  As you can see in the picture below, our minister forgot to tell everyone that they could sit down.  Oops.  Good thing our ceremony was only 6 minutes or so!

We lit the unity candle, exchanged our rings and vows, and then we were married!

We went back into the chapel to dismiss our guests by row.  I know this can take awhile, but we only had about 125 people at our wedding, so it wasn’t too bad.  As everyone left the chapel they received little packets of ecofetti on their way out.  The ecofetti was made to look like rice, but it flutters like snow, and dissolves when it rains.  It made for some beautiful pictures!

We then headed off to the reception in our “getaway” car.

Time to party!!

Last Minute Planning & Rehearsal

Wedding recap part 4…

The several weeks leading up to my wedding were so much fun.  Honestly, not only was our wedding day the best day of my life, but the weeks leading up to it made the best month ever.  It was filled with last minute planning with family and friends, my bachelorette party and our wedding rehearsal.

We had a paper construction party to put together all the paper goods for our wedding.  My mom has some very crafty friends who helped to design and create our programs, name card boxes for the dinner, water bottle labels for the welcome packages and the pew decorations.

We were swimming in all the paper.  The boxes I am stuffing were used as name cards for the reception dinner.  Each person got a box with different color tissue paper, which was used to indicate to the servers which meal each person ordered.  White = chicken, black = beef, silver = vegetarian and zebra print = kid’s meal.

I absolutely loved how our programs turned out.

And the water bottles.

And the big bows for our pew decorations.

It was hard work but a lot of fun!

We held another party to put together our flowers.  We bought mini calla lilies from a local wholesaler.  They offered assistance to teach us how to build the bouquets and boutonnieres, and then we made them ourselves.

It was so hot that day!

I was impressed with how all of our flowers came out, having never done something like that before!

The week before the wedding, my maid of honor threw me an awesome bachelorette party in downtown Cincinnati.  It was so much fun!

I love this picture of my sisters and I from the party.

It was a great night… many thanks to my maid of honor for all the work and planning she did!

Before I knew it, it was time for the rehearsal!

The flurry of the wedding weekend began at the rehearsal.  A lot of family and friends who were coming in from out of town came to the rehearsal and I was floating between greeting people I hadn’t seen for awhile and concentrating on what we needed to do the following day.  It felt unreal.

We held our rehearsal dinner at Dave & Buster’s.  It was such a good idea – the food was good and we had a nice big room with a projector.  During the dinner, we planed a slideshow of pictures of us and our rehearsal dinner guests.  I had planned to have the slideshow on in the background as we ate, but when it came on everyone got really quiet and actually watched it.  It was fun to see both Pat and I growing throughout our relationship, but it was also fun to see the role that each of our guests have played over the years.

Pat and I with our families:

I made Pat the groom’s cake for the rehearsal dinner 🙂

Dave & Busters was so much fun because after dinner, we were able to play games.  We gave out game cards and everyone took off!

After a long night of playing games and winning prizes, the younger crowd drove home.  My baby sister (in the green) drove Pat’s car home, and Pat and I followed in the car of another friend.  Not long after we got on the highway, we watched the tire blow out on Pat’s car.  We were so lucky that everyone was alright – we all pulled off to the side of the highway and called for help.  It was really scary!

When we got back to my hometown, Pat dropped me off at our house and went to stay at the hotel for the night.  I couldn’t wait for our wedding day!

Bailey’s Rug

Because of Bailey’s leg twitch (from distemper as a puppy), she has a hard time on our wood floors downstairs.  She’s always slipping and sliding around.  It doesn’t seem to bother her – fall after fall, she gets right back up – but we wanted to put a rug in our living room to help  her get some traction.  It took us forever to pick one out (translation: to agree on a rug), but Pat and I finally found something we loved.

We took advantage of my parent’s van to transport the rug home from Lowe’s this past weekend.  The thing about Lowe’s is, if your rug is not in stock, shipping is free.  But if they have your rug sitting in the store, no matter how big it is, shipping costs $70. 

And of course, we had to buy a rug pad to put down under the rug.  It was $50 just for a piece of rubber to go under the rug!

We wanted a rug that had some burgundy/maroon in it, to tie in the dining room (since our living room and dining room are really one big open room), but also some navy to tie in our living room furniture.  Pat was leaning toward more oriental rugs, and I was leaning toward rugs that were plain, just one or two solid colors.  I think we found a good compromise in this rug – it has some design details, but it’s more modern and it fits the two rooms.

We still need to scotch guard the rug to protect against Bailey trying to mark her new territory.  Also, to protect against me dropping whatever food or drink I might choose to spill on our brand new rug.  After we do that we’ll move our furniture back to where it goes.

Bailey loves her new rug!