Thursday, June 30, 2011

2nd annual golf tournament

On Friday, June 10, the DC Alumni Chapter hosted it's 2nd golf tournament with the Phoenix Club from Elon.  We held it at Westfields Golf Club, and it was just a fantastic day.  We had 65 golfers, including new head football coach Jason Swepson along with alumni, parents, and friends of the university.  It was an extremely hot day, but everyone had a great time on the course.  Athletic Director Dave Blank joined us for the post-round dinner.  Both he and Coach spoke about Elon and the athletics program.  The DC Chapter was able to make our second contribution to the Phoenix Club of $1,000. 

It is nice that we have people on our board who aren't golfers who can help with the behind the scenes day of logistics so that I'm able to play in the tournament! (Thanks Jaclyn!)  It was a great afternoon with Tommy and the Baltimore Chapter President and close friend of mine, Zack!   

DC Chapter President Jaclyn, the Athletic Director from Elon, and Jenn with the Phoenix Club when we made our check presentation.

Nick and I are great friends, and have worked closely together both and college and with our chapter since then.  Creating this golf tournament last year to bring Elon to DC was one of our big dreams.  It's fantastic that we've been able to make that dream a successful reality, and it's been fun doing it together!  Here we're with Coach Swepson and Dave Blank.

They even wrote an article about the event for!

Go Phoenix!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Summer cookout

Recently we got together with 2 of our very favorite couples for a fun, casual outdoor dinner.  I made ribs and southern skillet corn, our neighbor made some grilled and roasted vegetables and caramelized onions. They also made caprese salad bites and grilled some sausages for appetizers.   

I found these 2 recipes from one of my favorite blogs, Eat, Live, Run.  

Both were very simple.  The corn was amazing - and only needed fresh corn, some flour, water, salt, pepper and sugar.  Cook it with a bit of butter, and it's just delicious.  

The cayenne cinnamon baby back ribs with maple glaze were just as easy.  You mix brown sugar, garlic powder, cinnamon, paprika, and some cayenne pepper with a little salt.  After putting the rub on, you wrap it in foil.

The recipe calls for you to bake it for an hour, but we threw it on the smoker instead.  After the hour, you brush some maple syrup on the ribs and let them caramelize a little.  

We enjoyed dinner with some yummy white and rose' wines, which was a great addition to our summer cookout.  Nothing says warm weather, back decks, and big red umbrellas like whites and roses, ribs, corn and grilled veggies.

Our other friends brought dessert - delicious brownies with ice cream - yum!

I love it when friends come over for casual get togethers. It's great when everyone brings something - it's always fun to see what everyone makes, and it's always so delicious!  It takes a lot of pressure off the host, but financially and with the work load.  It's so much easier to host dinner when you're not trying to do everything!

Do you have a favorite dish that you always take to parties?

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Operation G.R.O.S.

Over the last year or so, husband and I have been going through what I have affectionately named Operation G.R.O.S.  Also known as Get Rid of Shit Stuff.  We started this process about a year ago when we just started looking around the house at full closets, cabinets, drawers, and the garage.  It's really amazing how much STUFF you accumulate over the years of your life.  We both had full apartments when we got married and moved into this house.  Our family and friends were extremely generous with wedding and shower gifts when we got married.  And we've both tried to empty some of our 'kid stuff' out of our parents house.  We have slightly different versions of this - I still have a closet at home that's full of high school photos, prom albums, college memorabilia, and the like.  Husband's mom moved from the house he grew up in to Richmond about 6 years ago, and at that time we went through all of his old stuff and packed it up into Rubbermaid containers.  Just in the last few months, those containers have arrived at our house....

It's really unbelievable how much stuff we have!  And I even pride myself on making regular trips to Goodwill with household items as well as clothes.  Well.  Apparently not enough trips...

A few weekends ago we graciously turned down our friends' invitations and locked ourselves into the office.  The goal was to pair down - 2 desks to 1, 3 file cabinets to 1, and 2 bookshelves to 1.


Can you tell we're both only children?  We had 2 of EVERYTHING.  Two desks, 2 staplers, 2 desk lamps and 2 chairs...


We threw out 8 trash bags of crap.  And had 2 more to be shredded!  I had phone and water bills from my college apartment - I'm pretty sure those can go!

We didn't totally meet our goal of reducing the furniture numbers, but came pretty close.  We are down to one desk, the big black file cabinet, but kept the 2 book shelves.  But the cool part is that we were able to move an extra bed into the room!  A couple of years ago my cousin got married and gave me lots of furniture, including a queen bed for our guest room.  We've not been able to tried to get rid of the other mattresses so they've just been leaning against the wall in the lower level rec room.  So now we have a day-bed to relax on in the office, plus extra space for guests!  We slept on it just a couple of weeks when my parents visited since we had a friend staying with us for a month in the guest room.  It's great to have an extra sleeping/lounging space, and will certainly come in handy during the holidays.  

We still have a little work to do with the rearranging of photos on the walls, rehanging my diploma (I have to attempt to share the space with husband's two), and get used to sharing one desk/file cabinet/bookshelf.  But so far we are enjoying the new arrangement!

Operation G.R.O.S is certainly not over.  We have a massive pile of Goodwill, Craigslist, and eBay items in the basement just waiting for new homes!  Plus we need to tackle the boxes and Rubbermaid containers that husband has been storing in our basement. And honestly, it's important for us to continue to clean out - declutering and getting rid of things you no longer use makes your home more livable, plus will help whenever the time comes to move!

Thursday, June 23, 2011


While we talk a lot about wine drinking, we are beer lovers as well.

On Friday, June 3 (I know, I'm behind...just go with it) we got dressed up and Team Fairfax headed to DC for SAVOR.  SAVOR is a huge craft beer event that was held at the National Building Museum in DC.

According to their website, this year’s SAVOR featured 144 craft beers from breweries representing 32 states.  Brewers enter a lottery to be able to participate, and this year 150 entries were made.  They are selected at random and 72 were chosen.  In order to enter, you must ensure that your brewery owner, brewmaster and/or "face of the brewery" will be able to attend and pour the beer.  Each brewery pours 2 beers.  Two thousand people a night attend - and it's held for 2 nights.  Here are a few more stats from the evening: 

  • 72 craft breweries,
  • 82,000 prepared menu items (not including cheese, oysters or sushi),
  • 1,705+ gallons of beer,
  • 20,000 pounds of ice,
  • 2,000 attendees,
  • 250 pounds of artisan cheese,
  • 2,000 sushi rolls,
  • 2,200 artisan chocolate truffles, and
  • 2,600 oysters

They had food served in bite sized, small dishes set up all around the room.  Each table had several different food options that were paired with the beer being poured at the specific table.  Also, there was an oyster bar and a artisan cheese table.  Some of the food items included: pork belly on a biscuit, braised beef short rib brochette, lamb sliders, mini apple pies, pork rillette with olive tapenade (delicious), crab croquettes, crispy tuna rolls, truffle tart, grilled hangar steak, hummus and pita, and a whole bunch of other things along the same lines.  

It was quite a fun night.  It was great to taste so many different beers, all though by the end of the night, it was hard to remember which one was which.  The cheese bar was amazing - one of my favorite parts of the night.  MK and I went from the first through to the last, tasting every one.  YUM.  

They sent everyone away with a special gift, a bottle of beer that was a collaboration project between Sam Adams and Dogfish Head, a rose water based brew called Flowers.  

Photo from 
While it was a very fun evening, husband and I decided that it was probably an every other year type of event.  It's pretty expensive at $110 a ticket, plus cab fare back home.  During the week leading up to the main event, since all of the big wigs from the major craft breweries are in town, all of the local beer bars and restaurants hold their own events.  The boys all went to a few of those last year, and really enjoyed them.  We decided that going to those one year, and the big event the next year would be the plan. 

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Anniversary celebration

As I mentioned in my last post, Thursday was our 4th anniversary.  Part of me feels like the actual wedding day was so long ago - some of the details that I pondered over and worked on so diligently for the year of our engagement are starting to fade from memory.  But at the same time, the last 4 years have really flown by.  Time just moves so fast, and I'm sure it will only continue to get quicker.

It's been our tradition to take a vacation day on our anniversary.  Since our first was a Monday, we thought that was pretty lame so we decided to take the day off, and have continued it each year.  Some years we've played golf, gone to local wineries, and just spent the 'free' day together.  This year we did the same, but it was a little different.  We signed up over a year ago to volunteer at the 2011 U.S. Open, so we both had shifts on Thursday.

We woke up Thursday morning, and husband had run to the store to get flowers - and he brought home peonies!  Peonies are one of my favorites, and it's what I carried in our wedding!  It was such a nice surprise - and he also took my hints of leaving several internet windows open on my laptop to specific pieces of David Yurman jewelry that I would like, and gave me a beautiful bracelet. 

After opening presents and lounging around with Cady a bit, we headed up to Bethesda for the tournament.  We worked our separate shifts and decided to hang around for a little while and watch some golf.  We caught up with Phil Mickelson and Rory McIlroy for a couple of holes, and watched a few other groups come through the green we were sitting on.  Then the sky got a little dark and we decided to book it out of there, just in time before the rains started.

Dinner was a the newest Michel Richards' restaurant Michel in Tysons Corner.  We've been to Central downtown and loved it, but after being at the tournament all day, we knew we didn't want to mess with driving into the city.  Michel proved to be a wonderful choice!

In an attempt to branch out (and not spend $100+ on a bottle of wine), we asked for a French wine recommendation.  The sommelier suggested a couple and we selected the 2009 Mercurey, La Perrière Michel Sarrazin for $65, which was really wonderful.  We started with the Japanese Eel Carpaccio.  It was very different - extremely thin slices of eel with a very light sauce on them.  Husband loves things like this - it was good, and only enough for a couple of bites so not too rich.  Their bread was amazing - big, rustic pieces.  I had the braised lamb shank with flageolet beans and rosemary.  It was delicious, the meat was extremely tender.  Flageolet beans are found in French cooking and typically served with lamb.  They were delicious. 

Matt had the onion carbonara and a side of macaroni gratin with prosciutto.  The onion carbonara is a starter, but he had it for his meal.  It's delicious - it looks just like spaghetti but it's steamed onions with cream, bacon, parmesean, and some herbs, topped with large, beautiful slices of parmesean.  The macaroni was to die for - the crusty top was so delicious.

Please excuse the dark, grainy cell phone pictures.  I'm not usually one to take pictures in a restaurant, but we decided it would be a nice blog addition!

We opted to not get desert as our last few desert experiences haven't been the greatest.  You're already full, and rather than over stuffing yourself and spending $15 on something you don't really want, we decided that a Ghirardelli chocolate square (or 3) at home would be just enough.  I highly recommend Michel if you're looking for a nice place for dinner.  We had an amazing dinner, and it wasn't crazy expensive like some places can be.  Plus it's right in Tyson's, so you're not treking into the city for us suburban folks. 

It was a great day overall getting to spend time together!  Here's to many more anniversary celebrations in our future!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Four years of wedded bliss

Today, husband and I are celebrating our 4th anniversary!

The traditional gift for the 4th year is flowers and fruit.

For our last anniversaries, I've tried to give something small along the traditional gifts, and something else. The first year gift is paper - so I gave husband tickets to Mama Mia.

The second year is cotton - he had just finished his masters degree earlier that year so I gave him a tshirt from the school and a diploma frame. 

Last year it was leather - so I gave him a leather bag tag from his undergraduate school and a new watch. 

This year I'm giving husband new Spiegelau wine glasses to replace some that have broken over the years, framing 2 posters that we brought back from the Dogfish Head Brewery to put in the basement, and a bottle of wine from the Flowers Winery.  I'm pretty proud of my creative twist on the traditional 'flowers' and 'fruit' gift for the fourth year!

Time flies when you're having fun :)

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Chic city wedding!

On Memorial Day Friday, we got all dressed up and headed downtown to celebrate my friend Lisa's wedding.  She was my suitemate during my sophomore year of college, and then we were roommates for a year before I got married. 

Lisa met her new husband Eric in an elevator.  When we lived in Arlington, we lived in apartment 1300 - and he lived on the same floor on the exact opposite side of the building - our balconies looked at each other!  They met one weekend night riding up in the elevator together!  And who says 13 isn't lucky?!

The wedding was at the Omni Shoreham up in the Woodly Park area of DC, and the setting was absolutely stunning.

The wedding, photos and cocktail hour was in perfect timing, because some major storms were moving into the area - just in time for us to move inside for dinner.

The wedding cake was a perfect copy of her parents' cake, including the same topper.  There were pictures on the table of her parents' wedding - it was really a special touch.

The father daughter dance was the hit of the night.  They started out all nice and slow, and then broke into difference dances.  They had 4 all together, including the Twist and salsa dancing, since she's Argentinian. 

It was a great night getting to see old college friends again, and celebrating!

Congratulations Eric and Lisa!!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Extreme Makeover - Deck Addition

Over Memorial Day weekend, we were finally home for the first weekend in more than a month.  With all of the weddings and events this spring, we've been going non-stop.  But finally, we had some time to get some overdo chores done around the house.  First, we stained the deck.  This was a bit of a miserable project because of both the heat and the number of edges and corners on our privacy walls.  Our awesome neighbor let us borrow this rockin' tool that helped tremendously with the spindles - it was a bit messy for the user but made painting each one of those little buggers so much easier.  It's like kitchen tongs, with sponges on each side that you dip in the stain and just slide it down the spindle.  Amazing. 
I wish I would have taken before shots of the was so bad.  It looks like brand new wood now with just a coat of stain!  While waiting for the deck to dry, we went to Home Depot to get some more greenery and flowers.  Our herb garden is growing so well - everything is really doing great - but we wanted some other plants and flowers to make the space a little more homey feeling.

We put lavender in the middle of these beautiful pink annuals.  And I'll give credit where credit is due - husband very proudly picked these out and they do look great.  The pink is going to be gorgeous with the color of the pot when the flowers grow out a little.  It's been a couple of weeks and they're really growing beautifully.

Remember when I bought this stand back in February?

We did a few other little additions to the deck.  We changed the latch on the door, and love it now - it used to be one of those tiny, find in public restroom, slide locks that hardly would reach and was all rusted.  Now we have a fancy black one that we love - it is great when something so small makes such a difference.  We have been talking about putting a hose back there as well - the spigot is on the wall just beyond the privacy wall on the left, where our ac unit is.  We got this fancy curly one that our neighbors also have - they love it and when we saw it on the shelves, we figured why not!  We mounted it just on the other side of where the stairs are, and it sure makes watering all of our new plants (and washing the dog) easier!

We did some rearranging too.  The table was long ways right smack in the middle.  It was really un-exciting and uninviting.  So we pushed it over to the side of the deck, so you can better overlook the grassy common area.  We moved the 2 black chairs and small table to the corner near the house - you can kind of see them in this photo.  Also, bringing out our enormous red umbrella helped too.  The new layout gives so much more space to walk around, and the 2 black chairs are just saying 'drink your coffee right here!'

We've already sat out on the deck a couple of times, and really are enjoying the new layout and beautiful plants around.  It's kind of hard to see in the above photo, but we also hung all of the herb boxes over the edge.  It feels like a real, official outdoor living space!  And just in time for the warm summer nights full of fancy drinks, grilling, rose wines and friends.