Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The Williams go to Jersey

Third time is a charm.

Williams & Kaufmans - 2008

When our friends announced three years ago that they were moving back home to Jersey we were sad to say good bye but promised we would come visit soon.  Soon turned into two years later and still no visit.  We knew we needed to get something on the calendar so three months in advance we scheduled a trip in August.  We were all ready to go and then Huricane Irene showed up and we had to cancel.  That's ok we said we'll reschedule for October and then a freak snow storm hit.  Really!  I was starting to think the universe wasn't on our side here but we were determined to make it up there. I knew I would be in NYC in March for a Floral Design conference (more of that to come) so I suggested we come the weekend before and then I would head into the city. 

We made it!... after 7.5 hours of sitting in DC/Nova traffic...Baltimore traffic and then Philly traffic we arrive at the Kaufman's casa!  Hooray!  

After enjoying NY bagels for breakfast we headed off to the park.   Virginia had a great time swinging on these awesome swings!

Then it was off to have lunch and take a tour of their town, Ramsey. This town couldn't get any more cute, railroad and all!

Aimee and Adam took us to their favorite sandwich shop, Porto Alegre Cafe
...and then we made a stop at the local cupcake shop, Baked in a Cup

The rest of the weekend was spent catching up and just hanging out like old times.  Virginia had an absolute ball with their puggle Rylie.

The Kaufmans are also expecting their first child mid April so the unsolicited parenting advice was flowing as well as a pitch for them to purchase the Ergo baby carrier.  We even had Virginia model it.  

Thanks Kaufmans for a great time and we can't wait for our next trip up to Jersey.  

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Urban Chic Says I Do

Last fall after all my weddings were over and Chris and I were settling into our slow season I started to realize that Virginia was missing out on something very important and that was being around other children.  We attended a first birthday party in August where I observed her in action with other kids and it wasn't pretty, she didn't like to share and was very territorial about things.  I soon realized it was time to join a play group.  A friend with a daughter Virginia's age recommend we join her play group, which was one of the best things I've done since quitting my job.  Through this mom's group I met Jacqui of Jacqui DePas Photography, like myself she juggles raising her two old (and one on the way) and a successful photography business. 

Jacqui teamed up with Urban Chic of Georgetown for their "Urban Chic Says I do" bridal event and did a series of photo shoots featuring rehearsal dinner dresses, engagement outfits and bridesmaids dresses. When planning the bridesmaids shoot she suggested they needed flowers in the photos and approached me about providing a few simple bouquets for the models to hold in exchange for being a sponsor for their event.  I immediately jumped at this opportunity since I always love it when photographers are willing and wanting to photograph my work.  I also was asked to provide a few flowers for the actual event at their boutique of which again I was more than happy to provide.  

Not knowing exactly how the table would be set up I tried to keep it simple and create multiple arrangements that could be displayed together or separate. 


Friday, March 02, 2012

Birch and Barley Living Social Dinner Deal

It's no secret I love a good deal, some would call me cheap but I call it being smart.  Saving in some places affords us the ability to splurge in others. Chris however would like nothing to do with coupons or deals, it is just an added hassle to him.  So you can imagine my surprise when he purchased a Living Social deal and was all giddy about it.  He called me up all excited that he bought 2 Living Social deals for a 5 course beer paring at Birch and Barley.  I'm 100% positive the only reason he bought this was because he saw the word BEER... and because he loves Birch and Barley.  When talking to him about the deal I asked, how much did you pay....uh.... "I don't remember was his response"   ok... well honey it sounds good and we left it at that.  

A couple days later I get a call from Chris saying... "remember that deal I bought... well I didn't read the fine print and a friend I know that works for Living Social just pinged me about what day I was going" He then proceeded to explain what he purchased; the deal was for a pop up resturant cooked by the chef from Birch and Barley located at the new Living Socials building 918 F Street and it was only good for a few days.  

Luckily we caught this two days before the deal expired and was able to make a reservation, if we had missed it I would have been pretty livid. We arranged for Grandma and Grandpa to watch Virginia and were getting excited for the night out in the city. Then it started to dawn us that we would be drinking a lot and how were we going to get home? We came to the conclusion we would need to stay the night, lucky for us we have a few free nights with Kimpton hotels due to the conferences we plan at their hotels, so Chris booked us a night at the Hotel George for free:)     

This was really shaping up to a be a fun night and all for a good deal (or so I thought)  

We arrived at the hotel George checked in and then hopped in a cab (cha ching) and headed over to the REAL Birch and Barley for a pre dinner beer, Chris briefly mentioned this part but I wasn't really listening, the reason we were going on Thursday night was because he planned a Tech happy hour that night and wanted to kill two birds with one stone. We kept trying to explain to people at the happy hour that we were going to a Birch and Barley dinner but not at the restaurant, this new concept was a little confusing to most. 

After sipping a few pre diner brews we hopped in another cab (cha ching) and headed over to this infamous 918 F street.  

First impressions were quite impressive, I loved the architecture of the building and of course Chris loved the HUGE screens.  

We were greeted at the door by young hip Living Social staff sporting the Living Social tshirt and then proceeded to the check in table.  We will say this was a little odd, we were in the mood to have a 5 course dinner and something about someone in a tshirt with a huge logo on it threw us off.  But when they explained that a yoga and painting class were also going on the building we understood the casualness of the tshirt.  

A history lesson on the way up to the 3rd floor, this building houses the last caged elevator in the District.

Now onto why we came, the food and beer!  Yes I was that girl that took a photo of every course, so if you were there and kept seeing a flash go off now you know why.  

I'm not a huge foodie so I don't want to critique this menu too much, all I can say as an average person is that I was slightly disappointed in having an all pasta meal for $85! But Chris did keep reminding me that the beer we were drinking alone made up for it.  

I took photos of the beer too, but honestly they didn't turn out, so I'll just share Chris's notes.  After he tasted each beer I asked for his comments, these notes are exactly the words he said, no editing.  For your reference here are the beers:
5. Aventinus 

As a nice take home treat they ended dinner with this lemon poppy muffin for breakfast the next morning. Because this is run 100% by Living social no payment beyond the $85 is expected, we even asked if we should leave a tip and they said no it's all covered.  So...all in all I guess it wasn't that bad of a deal.  

Chris just couldn't get enough Birch and Barley so after taking this cute pic and saying good bye to the Living Social staff we walked off some of that beer and walked back to Birch and Barley to see if the happy hour was still going on, sadly it wasn't but that didn't stop us from enjoying one last beer (cha ching), we did have a hotel after all.  

We cabbed it back to the hotel (cha ching) passed out and woke up to a $48 valet parking bill (cha ching)

Oh well, I can't say this night was a deal but it sure was fun pretending I was young again living in the city.  By 10 am on Friday I was back to my normal life at a play date with Virginia.