Mid-Atlantic Engagement Party: Washington, D.C.

I completely underestimated how much I missed it. I just LOVE this city. We met a wonderful friend of mine, Jeanna, for dinner at Matchbox, which is in my old neighborhood and had great food, wine and conversation. By the way, they have expanded this place since I lived there. The upstairs was way bigger and much more accommodating than it used to be. We then got drinks at a new bar in Chinatown across from the Verizon Center and then at Post in Hotel Monaco. Jeanna and I had a lot of catching up to do!

Image Credit: historicdc.com

(Speaking of wine…I totally forgot to mention this but it is very noteworthy – the night before Michelle introduced me to one of her favorite white wines – Conundrum – and it was delicious – so delicious that we got it again the next night at Matchbox. I highly recommend it. It is a blend that is flowery but not as flowery as a Sauvignon Blanc and buttery but not as buttery as a Chardonnay – it was just excellent. Come to think of it I think we might have even got it the next night at Vinoteca – Salud!)

Saturday morning, the Husband and I got up and out and went to watch the Irish Rugby game at Fado’s (at 8:30am!). I frequented Fado’s –  when I lived in D.C. so it was really fun to revisit and unlike Texas they serve Guinness before 10am so the Husband loved it. After that we went to Ford’s Theatre and the brand new Lincoln museum that they just opened in February. The Husband just read Bill O’Reilly’s Killing Lincoln, so he really got a lot out of the museum and I was really impressed with what they did with it.

After the Lincoln museum, the Husband headed out to explore more of D.C. and I headed to Georgetown for Michelle’s dress appointment at Hitched. Michelle had already been to several boutiques and was just not finding what she wanted. But, with 3 bridesmaids and her mom in tow and after her mom treated us to a yummy lunch at Paolo’s (another place Mich and I frequented when we lived there) she finally decided on one. Well sort of…she actually decided on an even sweeter gig. It was a specific trunk show that we went to and the designer of the dresses was there and he agreed to work with Michelle to customize a dress just for her, which is just what she needed. I cannot wait to see the end product (which I’ll be sure to share in November).

Image Credit: HitchedSalon.com

After this, we all quickly changed and headed to Vinoteca Wine Bar and Bistro in the U Street area. (This area has absolutely exploded. It is amazing. So many new cute bars, restaurants and boutiques. I need like a week long visit to see it all.) The night was organized by Leah and was absolutely beautiful. We had the upstairs area all to ourselves with a big long banquet table in the middle of the room surrounded by beautiful vintage couches, a grand piano and a cellar/wall of wine. I was in love. Leah also had a florist shop that she loves in that area create the most gorgeous purple floral arrangements. The service was impeccable and the wine was flowing. It was great. I am a big fan of engagement parties especially when you have a wedding party that lives all over the country. It is a great chance for everyone to get to know each other and makes the wedding weekend even more fun. (Also, I do not know how I managed not to take a single picture at Vinoteca, but I didn’t so I had to borrow one that just does not do the place justice. I guess I’m just leaving myself room for improvement.)

Image Credit: spicy candy dc

We went out afterwards in the U Street area and had a blast. The next morning we went to Bar Louie in Chinatown with her parents and much of the wedding party. When we lived together Michelle and I had a Sunday tradition of bar food and a movie so I loved revisiting. Aside from my small meltdown from leaving my ID in the cab from the night before (typical Katy), which we luckily recovered on our way to the airport, it was a perfect weekend.

The Girls

Bachelorette and wedding posts will follow!

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Mid-Atlantic Engagement Party: Baltimore

Michelle’s save-the-date reminds me that I’ve been meaning to write a post about our recent trip to Baltimore and D.C. for Michelle’s engagement party. It was such a wonderful weekend that I’m devoting two posts to it. It got me really excited for the wedding festivities. Not only did we attend a fabulous dinner thrown by Leah, a fellow bridesmaid, but we also found Michelle’s dress, at a great little Georgetown boutique, which is going to be just beautiful.

We flew into Dulles (If you go to DC, don’t fly into Dulles. It is super inconvenient – we got schooled by Priceline.), but Rob was gracious enough to come all the way to get us and drive us back to Baltimore where I got to see their place for the first time (which is so cute and in what I think is a great little area).

The view from their place.

They then took as to a very yummy and fun dinner at Nick’s Fish House that is on the water and very homey. It was mine and the Husband’s first real crab eating experience (where you crack the shells and dig for the meat yourselves) and it was really fun. They were wonderful teachers and we had it down in no time (granted it took me like an hour to eat 2 crabs).

We went out afterwards in Federal Hill, a really neat little area with tons of restaurants and bars. I drank my first Natty Boh and we met the mascot at Cowboys and Rednecks (Rob was dying to take us there since we’re from Texas – it was hilarious). And then they took me to a bar that had President Reagan paraphernalia EVERYWHERE. I would have to make that my local haunt if I lived there.

Can you see my excitement?

I had to work remotely the next day, but the Husband explored a lot more of Baltimore. He saw the USS Constellation and visited Fort McHenry (but he spent the majority of the day in some Irish pub he found). We met him for lunch at Hull Street Blues where Mich and I split fabulous peel-and-eat shrimp and a delicious crab dip. The Husband would give his left arm to have that kind of seafood around all of the time. Then we headed to DC…

“Love” Save the Dates

So yesterday I received one of my best friends, Michelle’s, save the date and I was so excited. (I’m the very honored MOH and so stoked for November!). Michelle and her fiancé met and now live in Baltimore so they took the picture in front of the awesome American Visionary Art Museum -http://www.avam.org/. The museum has really neat exteriors and modern art pieces like the neon “LOVE” in the picture and one that says “Say Can You See” (the Star-Spangled Banner was written in Baltimore).

Michelle is very artistic (and has been the inspiration for like 70% of my personal style) and this just screams her personality. I thought it did a great job of representing their relationship and personal style. And being the paper freak that I am, I love that it was on very heavy card stock and that she used the super cute Valentine’s Day stamps the post office had this year that matched just perfectly.

Image Credit: camillestyles.com

Irish Honeymoon: Stop 1 – Athlone and Galway

The very first place we stopped was in Athlone. It was a charming little town and home to Sean’s Bar, the oldest pub in Europe (900 A.D.)! It also had some great ruins to explore and we had a fabulous and the first of many Irish breakfasts at A Slice of Life.

We then headed to Galway. We stayed at the Kilbree House, – http://www.kilbree.com/ which was a great little B&B. The lady who owns it is just the sweetest, the breakfast was delicious and the room was big, clean and very affordable. The sweet lady even chewed-out a cab company and moved her business to a new one because they didn’t come pick us up. The only drawback is that it is a little bit off the beaten path and Galway is not a city you want to drive in as a beginner. Cabs are easy to catch and not too expensive, but next time I might pick somewhere in Eyre Square like Hotel Meyrick where…

…the Galway Oyster Festival originated and is largely held! The Galway Oyster Festival is a huge celebration of Galway’s rich annual oyster harvest. The first night we attended a great seafood dine-around followed by a huge banquet with a super fun band and an unlimited supply of oysters and beer. They also held an International oyster shelling/eating competition, which was fun to watch. We met a really neat Scottish family who own an oyster farm and who had a son competition in the competition. We ended our celebration jamming/dancing to the Cranberries with them. Joel and I also did a little two-stepping and we had several people compliment us on our “waltzing.” I got a kick out of that.

We continued the Oyster Festivities the next day with the parade in Eyre Square. Rory came and met us again and then showed us the sites of Galway including Quay Street (pronounced “Key Street” – that was really hard for me to wrap my mind around), Shop Street, the Spanish Arch, the alleged original claddagh ring shop (where Joel bought me my own ring), the Galway Cathedral and much more. For me, Galway was a surprisingly awesome city. It is definitely an Ireland must. The walk through the town and then down by the river was the best walk I’ve been on since I lived in DC. It was completely relaxing, the weather was perfect, I had great company and exploring a new city. It was awesome.

Ireland is by no means known for their food. It’s a very meat and potatoes kind of place. But, what I didn’t expect was the super fresh and delicious seafood. It was awesome in these little coastal towns. Galway Restaurants and Pubs we got to experience:

  • Vina Mara – we went here for our dine-around and had delicious fish and wine.
  • Tig Neachtain or Naughton’s Pub – this one came highly recommended by Liam for live music.
  • The Quays – they are half restaurant/pub and half legit music venue so there are some great bands that come here. We saw a very interesting one while we were there.
  • McDonagh’s – they are rumored to have the best fish and chips in Ireland so of course Joel had to try (even though we had just eaten like 2 hours earlier). And, they were admittedly quite yummy
  • The King’s Head – a really neat pub with great wood accents.
Our awesome tour guide, Rory, at Naughton’s Pub.

Irish Honeymoon: Introduction

The Husband and I worked for weeks planning this trip (admittedly, the Husband did most the work) and it totally paid off.

Our serious planning set-up (and the serious planner).

We debated and debated about when to go. Everyone recommends going in July or August because the weather is supposed to be the best, but this is also when it is the most expensive to go. So since I had just started my job and we had just shelled out some major moolah for the wedding we decided to push it back to the Fall. Ireland in the Fall was BEAUTIFUL. We encountered minimal rain and we saved a small fortune not going in the peak season. We also discovered that the annual Galway Oyster Festival is at the end of September, which kind of just set things in stone and determined our route around Ireland. We flew into Dublin, drove to Galway and then drove around the coast until we reached Dublin again. We got to see so much!

We were lucky enough to have our very own tour guide meet us at the airport. Liam’s (our friend in Fort Worth that owns Conlon’s Pub) son, Rory, lives in Galway and got up at the crack of dawn to take the bus to Dublin and accompany us on the drive back to Galway. If I don’t mention it enough – we have some of the best friends ever! This was especially good since we were renting a car in a country where they drive on the opposite side of the road and the opposite side of the car. I’m pretty sure we would not have made it through those first few traffic circles without Rory.  Also, never ever use Murrays through Auto Europe. We picked them because they were the cheapest but that is because they make you deposit your first-born son as insurance. We ended up bailing with them, and going with Hertz. But once we got out of the airport, our adventure finally began…

1st Annual St. Patty’s Day Party

This past weekend the Husband and I threw our First Annual St. Patty’s Day Party and it was a huge success. We have been trying to find our go-to party to throw for over a year (the Cozads do a Christmas Party, the Allens do a Halloween Party, we go to Nocona for all the lake-type holidays, etc.). So, since the Husband is obsessed with all things Irish (his mom was Irish), we decided to do a St. Patty’s Day celebration every year.

We went all out and had a great time with our friends. Here are a few of the photos from event:

The Irish Whiskey Bar was an idea I saw on Pinterest that someone had done for a wedding and it was a hit! And we used our green wheelbarrow as an ice chest – “Our Patty Wagon” full of Irish cider, Guinness, and Smithwick’s.

My mom and I made all of the little signs and paper accents using free printables online or just crafts we had at home. And we had a banner that said “Everyone’s Irish on March 17th”. We had the banner printed at Kinko’s for $9 and then just used paint and marker to make it a little green.

The food was really fun and all Irish themed. We had patty melt sliders, shamrock bites, Blarney Stone cookies, an Irish flag veggie tray and my favorite – a Spud Bar – baked potatoes with all the fixins’.

But my awesome friends also brought a smorgasbord including a Guinness cheddar dip that was to die for and a most delicious pull apart bread (both of which they found on Pinterest). The Husband had hourly contests in which our friends could earn gold coins and win a gift certificate to our favorite Irish pub in Fort Worth – Conlon’s. Oh – and the Husband shaved his head and raised over $400 for St. Baldrick’s.

Also, please let it be noted that we could not have pulled this off with out our amazing friends, Candace and Kathryn, and my awesome Mom. Also, in honor of St. Patty’s Day, I am going to dedicate my posts this week to recapping our awesome Irish honeymoon. We traveled all over Ireland and tried some really cool places. I’ve been all over and this was definitely one of my favorite destinations.

Coveted Style of the Week: Corporate Jungle

I’m about to start naming this segment “Kelsey” after my cute little co-worker who keeps wearing things I envy (she was the leather skirt lady of my previous post). Her latest: subtle and basic leopard accents that add just the right amount of punch for the glorious corporate world we work in. I had a pair of leopard calf-hair pumps that I absolutely wore into the ground (I think the cobbler laughed at me when I finally took them in for rehab), and I’ve had a hole in my wardrobe ever since.

Kelsey has a shirt very similar to this one from Mod Cloth which she often pairs with a great red pencil skirt…

 

…and she also sports some cute little flats with the tiniest bit of a heel to them, sort of like these from J.Crew that I am dying to have:

But, I think I’ve decided that my first leopard purchase will be a scarf like this little gem I saw on Pinterest. This is obviously a purchase I need to make pre-Italy. They love their scarves in Europe. (We’ll see if the Husband agrees).

 

Classy Christmas

I don’t know if you’ve noticed a trend in my posts, but my friend Kathryn is one of the classiest, most entertaining ladies around. She throws great parties, has great style and can turn something drab into something fabulous in half an hour. So, when she said she was going to have a Christmas dinner party, I was over the moon.

There were about 14 of us total and it was a fabulous ladies’ night out. There were festive cocktails, calligraphed place cards, Spode Christmas china and door prizes (I won a cute set of poppers). She also had hurricanes with red and gold ornaments literally, all over her house. It was amazing and so festive (and prompted me to go buy like 4 more glass hurricanes). This was all followed by a Spirit Swap in which we all took home a nice little bottle of wine. I’m secretly hoping this becomes an annual event.

Here are some photos of the details:

Wedded Bliss Part 6

Three of my good friends from my days at Texas Tech recently got married and we partied Red Raider style at all three.

Wedding # 16 – Funkytown Festivities

Brittney got married just a couple of months after me, so we had a lot of fun talking about wedding plans leading up to it. They got married in the Lena Pope Home’s Chapel. I love this chapel because there isn’t a bad seat in the house. You really get to feel like a part of the ceremony, which is what weddings should be all about, right? (My husband tends to think they’re about the open-bar). The reception was held at one of my favorite Fort Worth venues – The City Club. It is an immaculate room and the service is great. Brittney is a beautiful girl and her all lace dress was just amazing. Since the bride and groom both went tot Tech, it was a Red Raider reunion! We danced a lot and re-lived the glory days.

Wedding Favorites: (1) Their favors – dog treats with their dogs faces on the packaging. (2) Brittney’s dress – it was just stunning. (3) The venue – it is one of my favorites in Fort Worth.

These two seriously love their dogs.

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Wedding #15 – Shabby Chic Austin Wedding

My sorority sister, Lindsay, got married in Austin on Lake Travis at a beautiful venue called Villa Antonia. It had a small and charming chapel that opened up onto a large veranda where the reception was held. Lindsay has a very feminine style and did a wonderful job of incorporating that style into the wedding. The flowers and bridesmaids dresses were shades of soft pink and her dress was made with very delicate lace (which looked great on her small frame). But, the couple also did a great job of incorporating Judd’s manly-man taste (Judd is an avid hunter). He gave his groomsmen boots as their wedding party gift (best gift ever!) and they wore TX-themed cufflinks. I think they did a great job of summing up the Hill Country feel – beautiful, but still Texas-rugged.

Wedding Favorites: (1) The gifts for the groomsmen! So Texas and so cute. (2) The flower arrangements – which Lindsay and her mom did themselves (and that I unfortunately do not have a photo of).

My girls

Photos Courtesy of Eric Hegwer Photography

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Wedding #14 — New Year’s Wedding in Houston

Martha and Matt are two of my good friends from college. They have been together since high school and are the perfect balance to one another. Even with all the Houston friends I had in college, this was my first real visit to Houston. We stayed at the very historic and beautiful Lancaster Hotel and went out in Rice Village the night before. It was fun to explore a new city with the Husband even if it was just for a night.

Their wedding was huge (400+ people) and beautiful. They went all out. The food stations were Texas-unique (including my fav – Tex-Mex), the flowers were extravagant and they hands-down had one of the best wedding bands of all time.

Wedding Favorites: (1) Martha’s dress – it complimented her so well and I loved the roses. (2) The 7-piece band – the Husband was swooning. (3) The details – Martha had everything from the tissue boxes decorated to her own personal cup.

In Honor of Super Tuesday

Though this Super Tuesday is a little less super since there are only 10 states participating instead of 24 like we saw in 2008, and Texas’s redistricting situation pushed our primary back to May 29th (don’t forget to go vote!), it is still exciting. I have not been a huge fan of the Republican Primary this past year (Mark McKinnon summed up my sentiments exactly) and I’m ready for us to know who our candidate is so we can focus on the general election and on getting some Conservatives back in office. (Sorry liberal and apolitical friends, voting days are like my crack). Let’s go Mitt! Time to turn the charm on.