Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Washington DC Day 5

Today was our last day in DC. Sadly, no pictures as I forgot my phone in the hotel room and didn't realize it until we were at the Metro.

We started off the day at Arlington National Cemetery. We took the Tourmobile tour around. They dropped us off at the Kennedy grave sites, the Tombs of the Unknown, and Arlington House. At the Tombs of the Unknown, we were able to watch the changing of the guards which was nice to see. From Arlington House we got a great view of DC and also got a glimpse of the Pentagon.

After that, we headed into DC to find the White House. Despite not having my phone to navigate, we did find the White House. We did see some guys in suits out front, but no sign of Barack or Michelle!  After taking some pictures, we went to the White House Visitors Center and checked out their displays.

After walking through the Old Post Office Pavillion, we took the metro back to the hotel and relaxed for a bit. Now that we've had dinner, it's time to pack for home!

We'll be headed home tomorrow, but first we're stopping at some outlets! Can't wait to find some deals!

Washington DC Day 4

We spent the day outdoors for a change today. We headed to the other side of DC to the National Zoo!

We had a great time, but my one complaint is that they don't have free maps here! You can pay $2 for a paper map or use the map signs located throughout the park. The other Smithsonian museums that we visited had free paper maps available. They were basic, but handy.

Here are some phone pictures I took today.

Owls! (In other news, I have no idea why my phone pics are so small now when they were big the other day.)

Pandas! They were so cute. When we get back, I'll be posting all the pictures I took with my real camera and believe me, I took lots of pictures of these pandas and the red pandas!

After the zoo, we headed to Dupont Circle to check out a cupcake place that my friend T recommended after her trip to DC a couple weeks ago. Hello Cupcake was a cute shop and the cupcakes looked so pretty. I wish I had taken a picture of the shop.

We got 4 different cupcakes to try some different flavors. I'll do a proper review when we get back, but so far they are super yummy!

This one is You Tart and it was fantastic! Lemon cupcake with lemon cream cheese frosting and sugar on top. So fresh and delicious!

Tomorrow is our last day in DC. We'll be starting with Arlington Cemetery and then probably going into DC to see the White House and other things we've missed.


Sunday, September 25, 2011

Washington DC Day 3

Today we visited the National Museum of American History. We saw a lot of great stuff including the Star Spangled Banner which was pretty cool. We also saw dresses from some of the First Ladies, the ruby slippers from the Wizard of Oz, and Julia Child's kitchen.

After the museum, we decided to do some walking and check out some monuments.

Of course, we saw the Washington Monument again.

This is the World War II Memorial.  We then walked down to the Vietnam Veterns Memorial before heading to the Lincoln Monument.

Here's Abe! There was a bride and groom taking pictures in front of Abe while we were there. They were so cute! I was really amazed at how big Abe was. You really can't tell just how big he is in pictures.

Sorry no Pinterest Sunday post this week, but as you can see, I've been busy! Although I have realized just how addicted to Pinterest I am because I keep wanting to pin things I see while we're out!

Tomorrow we'll be hitting the National Zoo and hopefully checking out some cupcakes!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Washington DC Day 2

Our second day in DC started with the National Book Festival. As we wandered through the tents towards the Pavilion of States, I stopped to peek in the children's tent. Turns out, Julianne Moore was just about to speak.

I had to snap a phone picture of my first DC celebrity sighting! I didn't even know she had written any childrens books and we didn't stay to listen.

We moved along to the tent housing the Pavilion of States. Every state and territory and a table in the tent. I picked up a US map and every table stamped their state. It was pretty fun to go around and collect all the stamps. Plus, most every table had free things to grab. Mostly just bookmarks, stickers, pencils, etc. Luckily, C-SPAN provided big tote bags to everybody so we had something to stuff our free things into.

When we were done at the Book Festival, we headed to the National Museum of Natural History. This museum is a lot like the Field Museum in Chicago, so I didn't think we'd spend much time here, but we actually did. They have lots of dinosaurs and fossils, which M loves and the Field doesn't have. I also liked the dead animal displays a lot better than the Field's. The animals were posed in lifelike poses and with animals they lived with in the wild.

The gems and minerals were also very interesting. We got to see the Hope Diamond and some other great jewelry pieces.

When we were done at he museum, we walked towards the Washington Monument and took some pictures. The Monument is still closed since it was damaged in the earthquake so couldn' go up in it.

Afterward, we were starving, so we headed to one of my favorite southern restaurants, Fuddrukers! I was craving a burger and it hit the spot. After that, we headed to a shopping center that had a HomeGoods. You know it's my favorite store and since we don't have any at home, we must go to them when we travel.

And I found something I really wanted.

What's that I spy? Is that...

It is! A Vera Bradley Yellow Bird lamp! My husband even said, "Is that Yellow Bird?" I wanted to hug it and take it home with me even though it's the wrong colors for our living room.The birds would have been perfect and I would have been with black and yellow instead of black and green.

Sadly, the price tag was not huggable. $80 is about $40 more than I'm willing to spend on a lamp, even a Vera Bradley lamp. Although the original price was $250 so $80 was a good bargain, but I just couldn't justify it now matter how much I wanted it. So, I left without the lamp, but I know I'll be thinking about it for a few days though.

Tomorrow, we'll be hitting up the National American History Museum and hopefully seeing some more monuments.


Friday, September 23, 2011

Washington DC Day 1

I won't do full updates while we're here, but I wanted to check in and let you know what we've been up to on our vacation. Also, I totally forgot to bring the camera cord, so no photos unless I take some with my phone. Which, I didn't do today. Oops!

Anyway, we drove down yesterday and it took 3 hours longer than it should have thanks to a wonderful traffic jam somewhere in Pennsylvania.

Our hotel is nice so far. I'll do a full review when we get back, but so far no problems. The internet is a bit slower than what I'm used to, but I can't complain since most hotels wouldn't even offer free internet. The free breakfast is quite impressive and I'm loving that!

Today we took the metro for the first time into DC and visited the National Air and Space Museum. We had a good time looking at all the exhibits and I took lots of pictures that I'll share with you when we get back. Unfortunately, it was raining all day today so we didn't walk around DC any to look at monuments.

The forecast calls for rain most of trip, so we'll have to brave it in order to see things, I guess.

Our plans for Saturday include checking out the National Book Festival and the Natural History Museum.


Thursday, September 22, 2011

Our 1st Anniversary Trip Day 2

After hitting snooze a few times, we finally got out of bed and headed out for our second day in Chicago. This morning we enjoyed a walk along the Lakefront Trial to the Shedd Aquarium.

We arrived shortly after opening and to wait in line under that blue awning, but the line moved pretty fast and we were soon inside. Unfortunately, it was not free admission day at the Shedd, so we had to pay full price to get in.

And here's my rant. The signs above the ticket counters only had 2 different choices for admissions packages. There was only a few dollars difference in price, so we went with the better one so that we could see everything. I thought it was odd that they only had the 2 choices and they were so similar in price. Turns out there are actually 2 more choices that are cheaper, but they don't advertise those! Since we got into the Field for cheap, we were coming in under budget on this trip, but it still made me mad to discover that they trick you like that.

Even though it was a Friday and not a free day, the aquarium was still pretty busy. We had to deal with some crowds to look at the fish, but we had a good time walking around looking at everything.

We saw...




I love the penguins!
The special exhibit was Jellyfish!




Jellyfish make some really interesting pictures.



We also saw some great lizards.

The view of Chicago from the aquarium.

When we were done at the aquarium, we decided to walk over to the Adler Planetarium because it was a free day there. Our free general admission didn't get us into any of the shows, but we walked around and checked out the exhibits.


I'd heard that the view of the Chicago skyline is amazing from this point, so I wanted to take pictures when we left the Planetarium. Unfortunately, when we walked out of the planetarium, this is the view we saw...

A very dense fog had rolled in and the city had disappeared!

We managed to make our way through the fog back into the city and we went to find the Bean!


Somehow we never managed to find it the last time we were in Chicago.

I don't know how we managed to get a picture without anybody else in it. There were lots of people at the bean.


The fog hid the tops of the buildings in the city.

I love the architecture of Chicago. It's a fun mix of old and new.

After spending some time exploring Millennium Park, we headed off to find food and do some window shopping on Michigan Avenue.

I had a bit of a Carrie Bradshaw moment in Nordstrom's. Too bad even the clearance racks were too rich for my blood.

We eventually made our way back to the hotel and collapsed after a busy, but fun day.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Wedding Wednesday: Time for a Toast

Now that we had our seats at the reception, it was time for some grub! As soon as I was settled in my chair, a member of the catering staff came over and asked M and I if he could get us something to drink and also checked with me when I wanted the champagne served for the head table. I really appreciated this as everybody else had gotten their drinks during the cocktail hour.

The catering staff set up our dinner buffet and we were the first to go through the line. The staff dismissed tables to the buffet which kept everything organized. As you may remember from our tasting, I was looking forward to the food at our wedding. I ended up taking some of everything and thoroughly enjoyed it all! I was so glad to eat because I hadn't eaten since breakfast that morning.

On a related note, I will never understand brides that say they didn't get to eat at their reception. The catering staff made sure that I was the first person to get food and that I had everything I wanted. And even if they hadn't, my MOH and bridesmaids would have made sure I ate and sat down. If you want to eat at your reception, do it! The guests will still be there afterward and I'm sure they will understand that you paid a lot of money for the food and you'd like to enjoy it with them.

When everybody had their food and were settled back into their seats, the catering staff poured champagne for the head table. We enjoyed our dinner and when things started to wind down, we decided it was a good time for the toasts.

Best Man A went first.


I wish I could tell you exactly what he said, but I still don't have the video of our reception from my brother-in-law. However, I do remember that he gave a humorous and nice toast that even mentioned my love of penguins.


MOH L went next.

She had had me read the toast she wrote beforehand and it was very sweet. However, she got nervous and ended up amending it a bit.


It was still a very touching and sweet toast and I was very thankful to her for doing that for me.


Up next, it's time for some dancing!

All photos by Amanda Fales Photography.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011


Just a head's up, I will be leaving on vacation later this week, but blogging should continue as usual, if not more! M and I are headed to DC for about a week and the good news is our hotel is supposed to have free high speed internet, so I'm hoping to take some time to update while we are gone.

Also, I'll have my phone with me so I'll be able to update Twitter and Tumblr throughout the day, so be sure to follow me there!

While in DC, we'll be visiting some of the Smithsonian museums, Arlington Cemetery, the various monuments, the National Zoo, and the National Book Festival.  If you have any recommendations for restaurants or attractions we should check out, please comment and let me know!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Pinterest Sunday

Time for my weekly Pinterest roundup! Every Sunday, I share with you a few of my favorite finds from the previous week.

Today I decided to share some pins of one of my favorite animals, owls!

Source: piccsy.com via Jenn on Pinterest

I know these owls aren't really kissing, but it was too cute to pass up. Plus, these owls are just pretty!

If you've been following me, you know I can't resist a cute cake (or cookie) and this cake is no exception. I think I'm going to need an owl cake for my birthday now.

I went to a friend's baby shower yesterday, so I'm in baby mode and I just love this onesie!


Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Wedding Wednesday: Making an Entrance

Now that the picture taking was over, M and I headed to our reception. We were so glad to get inside where it was cooler!

The ballroom is on the third floor so we took the elevator up. Luckily, the elevator opens into a foyer area and the guests were all in the ballroom. I don't remember how, but we got the bridal party to come out of the ballroom so that we could announce their entrance.

Our guests had been enjoying drinks and hors d'oeuvres while they waited for us.

Our DJ got our guests attention to let them know it was time for the party to really start.

First, Flower Girl S with Ring Bearer C.
These two hams loved the attention they got when they walked in.

Next, Bridesmaid R with Groomsman M2

Bridesmaid T and Groomsman M1 were next.

And then Maid of Honor L and Best Man A!

Now it was time for our big entrance. And this point I was acting pretty goofy because I was about to pull off a big surprise for M. He had no idea what songs I had picked for the reception. He thought we were walking into the reception to the same song as the bridal party, but he was wrong!

Our DJ announced us and a new song started. At this point, I couldn't hold it in anymore and I started laughing and jumping up and down. I was so excited that I had managed to keep this a secret!

The Doctor Who theme song! We are big Doctor Who fans as are most of the members of our bridal party. This is some of our favorite music because it means an episode of Doctor Who is starting!


We entered the reception to lots of cheering and took our places at the head table.




Up Next, time for food and some toasts!

All photos by Amanda Fales Photography