Friday, July 31

Our 4th of July Celebration…

As long as I have no attended Camp Seafarer for the summer, I have celebrated The 4th of July at the beach.  This year was no different – me, Ben and Freddie got loaded up (after I worked most of the day) and made our way down for a sunny, fun-filled weekend.  In 2004, my parents bought a new beach house and for the first few years the entire community has had an organized potluck by the pool as well as parade of golf carts.  The past couple of years the tradition has fizzled out and we started a new tradition of our own and we enjoy a huge potluck dinner with our immediate neighbors.  June-July 09 030 June-July 09 046 Every year we add a few more families and we run out of room for the dishes.  I think this year I counted 35 people including us, my mom and stepdad, brother, Uncle Robbie & Aunt Linda, cousins, grandparents, and family friends!  There is everything you could possibly think of – shrimp, pork lion, steak, grilled chicken, BBQ, salads, baked beans, mac and cheese, and many desserts.  We all sit out side on our patios mingling and catching up with everyone while the kids run around and enjoy a few mixed drinks.  This year our neighbors directly across from us, Julie and Ricardo, treated us to authentic Pina Coladas.  Ricardo is Puerto Rican and says the trick to the best Pina Coladas is sweetened condensed milk…I don’t think I want to know how many calories is one of these.    June-July 09 032 June-July 09 049 June-July 09 051 June-July 09 052After we fully stuffed and nicely relaxed, we line up our chairs on the front that faces the Cherry Grove Pier to watch the fireworks (at a safe distance!)  It really is the epitome of summer!!

Wednesday, July 29

Ben – The Handyman

June was a big month for projects around our house and I barely lifted a finger!!  Since we have been in our house for over a year now, we are on our second round of projects.  Finally the big kitchen remodel (well -  big for us and our practically brand new house) was completed! 

Before we even made an offer on our house we knew we would want to add an over-range microwave and retile the backsplash. That dream came true while I was away on my Girl’s Weekend to DC…it truly felt like I was on one of those HGTV shows where the wife gets to go away for a weekend of pampering, while the husband stays at home to finish the project.  Ben’s team was his dad who is very knowledgeable in home improvement projects.  imageSurprisingly the project was on budget and on time, but not without at least one pitfall along the way.  It turns out they had to replace the entire wall behind our stove!  Once that was complete it was smooth sailing with installing a new outlet in the cabinet, then the microwave and finally putting up the tile, grouting and sealing.  image image imageOnce I arrived home to a spotless house on Monday to see the finish project…I was created with flowers and a card!  Impressive - I was absolutely blown away with Ben’s handy work!  Our kitchen is finally the way we want it and it feels like us now.June-July 09 010 June-July 09 016Additionally Ben installed new pendant lighting over our bar area, a new ceiling fan in the living room and our bedroom.  I also painted our master bath and we got a new down comforter for the new duvet I got for my birthday.   Jenni's Birthday 2009 217 Jenni's Birthday 2009 215

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Tuesday, July 28

Girl’s Weekend in DC

Each year, it has become tradition to enjoy a Girl’s Weekend with my college roommate, Meg, and her mom, Kathy.  Last year they came down and we had a weekend at the beach with a day-trip to Charleston.  We decided to switch scenery and head to Northern Virginia where they live. 

It was a very enjoyable weekend which started when we left early Friday morning.  Ben had a weekend warrior project of installing a new microwave and re-tiling the kitchen backsplash!  After arriving at The Borghi’s, we shopped at Reston Town Center where I finally found a cream and blue shell dish to keep all of my jewelry.  Kathy made a delicious dinner of Caprese Salad, crusty bread and Mushroom Ravioli.  We ended Friday night with Confessions of a Shopoholic. 

Saturday morning started out with a run for me and my mom followed by breakfast al-fresco on their amazing deck.  We all showered then headed for our lunch reservation at he The British Tea Pantry in Aldie, VA.  We had so much fun sipping tea and the quiche was delish!June-July 09 005 June-July 09 004 June-July 09 006 June-July 09 008 We spent the afternoon wandering in and out of shops in historical Middleburg and then made a quick shopping trip to the Leesburg outlets where I found two outdoor pillows for our Adirondack chairs and a tall floor vase for the curly branches I purchased almost a year ago for our bedroom.  For dinner we ordered in, invited a few friends over and spent the entire night emptying bottle after bottle of wine, chatting in true girl’s style!

Sunday was deemed museum day.  It’s been forever since any of us had been to the museums on The Mall in DC…after breakfast we headed towards the metro with a quick stop at Meg’s condo.  Meg is an interior designer and I love seeing all the new things she’s found and work they have done on their condo.  By lunch, we had arrived at the National Gallery of Art and decided to have lunch in the cafe by this really cool waterfall.  After we had all intentions of touring the museum, but I think we spent more time in the cafe – we came back for gelato -  and shopping in the gifts shops.  I had never seen the Hope Diamond, so we finished off the day with a tour of the Smithsonian. 

imageimage image image imageMonday morning was a lazy one and we got on the road by 12 noon.  We decided to make a detour for another first -  IKEA!  Wow…how have I made dozens of trips to Northern VA and never stopped in IKEA!  I got out of there under $100 with the biggest shopping bag I have ever seen. 

By this point I was anxious to get home to see the Big Kitchen Remodel of ‘09…once we arrived home I could not have been more proud of Ben and his hard work.  The kitchen looks amazing and better than I could have ever imagined.  I think I should take more long weekends away and leave him with weekend projects more often!  I’ll have to see what projects I can come up with another big project by the 2010 Girl’s Weekend!

Thursday, July 9

The Official Birthday

Like I said…we do multiple celebrations when it comes to birthdays!  Ben surprised me by taking the night off for my birthday and inviting my mom, stepdad, brothers and sister in law over for dinner. 

But before dinner -  we enjoyed breakfast of my choice and best of all presents and cards!!  Ben is an excellent card giver and shares my love of finding the PERFECT card…this year was no exception!  He also gave me a new Michael Kors summer-white handbag and matching wallet.  I love handbags and it was the only thing I wanted!  I get so many compliments on it.

For dinner Ben made homemade pizzas – Ham & Pineapple, Sausage & Veggie, and Shrimp, Spinach, Mushroom white pizza -  all were delish.  My mom brought her amazing Spinach, Blueberry and Mandarin Orange salad.  And as our tradition, Ben made my birthday cake.  It’s a rule – the birthday person requests the cake and does not have to make it!  He made my absolute favorite cheesecake…Banana Pudding Cheesecake.Jenni's Birthday 2009 141 Jenni's Birthday 2009 172 After we enjoyed cake it was present time!  My mom surprised me with more of our crystal champagne glasses.  When we got married we registered for just 2 champagne glasses in our crystal pattern for us to toast with.  Over the years, we’ve found we drink more champagne when entertaining than anything else.  She also got me the duvet I’ve been lusting over for months and Zack & Amanda got me a gift card to one of my favorite stores!Jenni's Birthday 2009 154Jenni's Birthday 2009 167Jenni's Birthday 2009 169  Thanks so much for coming to celebrate and my gifts!

When one celebration is not enough…

When Ben and I celebrate birthdays…the day turns more into a week and this year was no exception for my birthday!  On Sunday before my actual birthday we headed to Sanford to have a joint lunch birthday celebration with my step-mom.  We made it a day and went to church, enjoyed lunch and the lazy afternoon playing with their new puppy, Jack!  Jenni's Birthday 2009 101Jack is a Chiporkie…he’s mostly Chihuahua and Yorkie, but he does have a little poodle in him too.  He is 3 lbs of fur and spunk and is as cute and sweet as can be!  The girl’s are loving having a dog and enjoy chasing and sometimes being chased by Jack around the house.Jenni's Birthday 2009 105We had a great afternoon -  my pineapple cake as wonderful and I love all of my gifts, especially the Pandora bracelet.  Jenni's Birthday 2009 104