Adventure Time: Blacksburg, VA Edition (P.E.O. Virginia State Convention 2018)

img_1577

This is my first-ever P.E.O. State Convention post!

What is P.E.O.?

  • From P.E.O. International: P.E.O. is a philanthropic organization where women CELEBRATE the advancement of women; EDUCATE women through scholarships, grants, awards, loans, and stewardship of Cottey College and MOTIVATE women to achieve their highest aspirations.
  • Motto: Women helping women reach for the stars
  • There are 230,000 members throughout the United States and Canada
  • More information: https://www.peointernational.org/

This was at least my fourth Virginia State Convention. I have been to Convention in Roanoke, at least twice in Richmond, and this year was in Blacksburg, at The Inn at Virginia Tech.

I was one of two delegates. Each chapter – There are 76 chapters in Virginia – are asked to send at least two delegates to Convention every year. I was thrilled to be a delegate with Darcy, a newly-initiated sister into our chapter. We are from Chapter L, based in Norfolk.

Convention was held from June 1-3, 2018. Come along for the ride!


Friday, June 1st

Darcy and I left my house around 8:30 a.m. for the long drive. It was roughly 440 miles from Hampton Roads. I wanted to make sure we got there before 4:30 p.m., where I was supposed to be in rehearsal for one of the convention workshops.

Thankfully, we didn’t have a lot of traffic. We arrived around 2:00 p.m., and the hotel was already buzzing with activity! We checked in, and then went toward Virginia Tech’s campus in search of food, and to stretch our legs.

We discovered downtown Blacksburg, and we stopped at Bottom of the Stairs (BOTS, for short). They weren’t busy, and the food was delicious!

My Slider Trio – Chicken, pulled pork, and their “veggie BBQ,” which was pulled jackfruit. Yummy!

After our early dinner, we took a Lyft back to The Inn. My workshop rehearsal was successful, and we were able to relax for a bit before the evening activities began.

I was part of the Friday night membership workshop, which was stylized as a live radio show from “WPEO.” It was a blast! I was “selected” as a Region 3 contestant, where I was a panelist with Ibani, a sister from Chapter AS in Richmond.

The Convention theme was “Catch The Waves To Better Futures.” Our outgoing President, Sherry Arendt, lives right on the Virginia Beach Oceanfront, so she brought “the ocean to the Alleghenies.”

After our evening workshops, Darcy and I spent several hours with the Franc 7’s group. Franc Rhodes was one of the seven founding sisters in 1869, and she was the youngest of the group. So, Franc 7’s are the women who are under 40-years-old. We had 21 Franc 7’s present during Convention, which was awesome! We pushed couches and chairs together, and enjoyed a nice, productive, unscripted conversation. Darcy and I hit the hay around 11:00 p.m.


Saturday, June 2nd

Saturday is easily the busiest and longest day. Breakfast usually starts around 7:00 a.m., and the day ends with the Saturday Night Banquet at 10:00 p.m.!

The P.E.O. flower is the marguerite, a flower much like a daisy. When I saw this dress for sale in the Darby’s Dresses Facebook group, I knew I had to have it!

One of the highlights of Convention is honoring our Golden Girls – Women who are celebrating 50 years of membership in P.E.O.! We had one sister that we celebrated this year – Our current chapter president, Jeanne Brody. She was initiated into a New Jersey chapter in 1968.

The handmade gold centerpieces!

The Golden Girls luncheon was fabulous. Ethel Muter, the State Organizer, did an amazing job with the presentation. In addition to displaying the 29 Golden Girls, their photos, and fun facts, she also did a ton of research on things happening during these ladies’ initiation dates in 1968!

One of Sherry’s challenges for the past year was using our special sand castle bucket for collecting spare change and fundraising ideas. All 76 chapters decorated their buckets, and proudly displayed them for all to see!

$2,000 in one fundraiser!

On Saturday afternoon, there were a few hours between the end of the day’s Convention business and the Saturday Night Banquet. Darcy and I walked around campus, and enjoyed the Duck Pond area.

On Saturday night, there’s a great banquet. There are project speakers who thank the P.E.O. chapter or chapters that helped nominate or sponsor them, and all of them are incredibly inspirational and humble.

We had dinner, and then an awesome trio played beach music. Imagine around 200 women dancing for two hours!


There are six International projects:

The state / Commonwealth of Virginia has two state projects:

Convention also has what’s called a “Projects Room,” where attendees can learn more about the projects, and see the recipients from the last year.


Sunday, June 3rd

I wanted to get as many photos as I could!

The sign outside the Projects Room.

The photos below showcase our seven founders, who started P.E.O. at Iowa Wesleyan College on January 21, 1869.

P.E.O. is celebrating its sesquicentennial – 150th anniversary – in 2019!

The year 2019 is also a P.E.O. International Convention year – So the 150th celebration will be held where it all began – Des Moines, Iowa. I’m already saving my money for next September!

I love this handmade quilt that showcases all 76 chapters, and where they are in Virginia.

Sunday morning is always a whirlwind. There are just a few hours to finish the Convention business, install the new State Officers, and say goodbye!

P.E.O. also takes time to remember sisters who have died, or passed on to “Chapter Eternal” every year. This year was particularly emotional. There were 69 sisters who passed away, including two Past State Presidents (PSPs).

Tragically, one of those deaths was the accidental death of Liz Jackson, who was the sitting State Secretary. I met her when my church was host to one of the Reciprocity Rallies (Reciprocity is a group of chapters based on geographic location – There are many throughout the state) in September 2017. Sadly, she fell off a balcony in February 2018, and never recovered.

After the Time of Remembrance, Convention business was concluded for the weekend. The new State Officers were installed. Our new State President is Rhesa Janice, from Chpater AZ, Herndon.

The 70th Annual Virginia State Convention will be held in Richmond, Virginia in 2019. The year 2019 will be an exciting one for P.E.O.!

logo

Rhesa’s theme is “Value The Past, Vision The Future.”


I hope you enjoyed my post about P.E.O. and the annual Virginia State Convention!


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Advertisements

Getting Personal #126: Movies That Are Inspiring My Travels

Travel - Adventure in You

Image Credit: Adventure in You

I love Paige Wunder’s blog, For The Love of Wanderlust. Check her out!

I was inspired to write this post by Paige’s recent post:


Chicago, Illinois – Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986)

As a kid, I visited Chicago a couple of times, since my Aunt Nancy, Uncle Larry, and cousin Missy lived in nearby Gurnee, Illinois, for years.

However, I’ve never been back to visit as an adult. I’d love to visit the Art Institute of Chicago, Wrigley Field, and Willis Tower.

Other movies filmed / set in Chicago:

  • The Blues Brothers (1980)
  • Risky Business (1983)
  • The Breakfast Club (1985)
  • Adventures in Babysitting (1987)
  • Backdraft (1991)
  • The Fugitive (1993)
  • Never Been Kissed (1999)
  • On the Line (2001)
  • The Incredibles (2004)
  • The Incredibles 2 (2018)

Mountain Lake Hotel near Pembroke, Virginia – Dirty Dancing (1987)

I’ve had the opportunity to stay at the Mountain Lake Hotel twice. Longwood’s S.E.A.L. organization has held their annual Leadership Conference there several times, and I was able to go as both a participant and a workshop presenter. If you ever get the chance, it’s such a beautiful area!

I would also like to eventually visit Lake Lure, North Carolina, where the rest of filming took place.

Other movies filmed / set in western Virginia and/or western North Carolina:

  • Shenandoah (1965)
  • Firestarter (1984)
  • Bull Durham (1988)
  • The Last of the Mohicans (1992)
  • Richie Rich (1994)
  • Patch Adams (1998)
  • Big Stone Gap (2014)

New York City – Ghost (1990)

I’m a bit biased, since I was born in Manhattan. Plus, there are so many movies that have been set in or filmed in the Big Apple. Oodles of them!

It was so hard to pick one movie that makes me think of New York. But, Ghost is one of my favorites. I still remember the very first time I watched it – With my mom.

If you haven’t seen it, you’re missing out. It’s dramatic, it’s a love story, and it’s also very funny.

I can’t wait to show Al the Big Apple for the very first time this fall!

Other movies filmed / set in New York City:

  • Rear Window (1954)
  • North by Northwest (1959)
  • Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961)
  • The Manchurian Candidate (1962)
  • The Great Gatsby (1974)
  • Saturday Night Fever (1977)
  • Superman (1978)
  • Ghostbusters (1984)
  • The Muppets Take Manhattan (1984)
  • Romancing the Stone (1984)
  • Big (1988)
  • Coming to America (1988)
  • When Harry Met Sally… (1989)
  • Sleepless in Seattle (1993)
  • Quiz Show (1994)
  • Men in Black (1997)
  • You’ve Got Mail (1998)
  • The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle (2000)
  • Finding Forrester (2000)
  • Catch Me If You Can (2002)
  • The Day After Tomorrow (2004)
  • National Treasure (2004)
  • Night at the Museum (2006)
  • Enchanted (2007)
  • WALL-E (2008)
  • Julie & Julia (2009)
  • Night at the Museum 2: Battle of the Smithsonian (2009)
  • American Hustle (2013)
  • The Great Gatsby (2013)
  • The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (2013)
  • Whiplash (2014)
  • The Big Short (2015)
  • Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (2016)
  • Ghostbusters (2016)
  • Sully (2016)
  • The Secret Life of Pets (2016)

New Orleans, Louisiana – The Pelican Brief (1993)

This is one of my favorite John Grisham book-to-movie adaptations. Julia Roberts and Denzel Washington are a great pair, and it’s a gripping thriller.

Roberts’ character is a law student at Tulane University, and seeing the variety of locations they used for filming is one of several reasons why I want to visit New Orleans.

Other movies filmed / set in New Orleans:

  • Gone With The Wind (1939)
  • A Streetcar Named Desire (1951)
  • Live and Let Die (1973)
  • All Dogs Go to Heaven (1989)
  • JFK (1991)
  • The Client (1994)
  • Interview with the Vampire (1994)
  • Ruby Bridges (1998)
  • The Haunted Mansion (2003)
  • The Princess and the Frog (2009)

Beaufort, South Carolina – Forrest Gump (1994)

Forrest Gump is one of my all-time favorite movies. I’ve watched it at least 20 times.

I’ve only been to South Carolina once on a trip – To Charleston, for a family friend’s funeral, when I was 12. I’d love to go back as an adult.

Just the antebellum architecture and gorgeous old oak trees is enough to lure me there.

Other movies filmed / set in South Carolina:

  • The Big Chill (1983)
  • Glory (1989)
  • The Prince of Tides (1991)
  • G.I. Jane (1997)
  • Radio (2003)
  • The Notebook (2004)
  • The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants (2005)
  • The Secret Life of Bees (2008)

British Columbia, Canada – Juno (2007)

I had the opportunity to visit parts of British Columbia while on a trip to Seattle and the San Juan Islands with my parents in the summer of 1998. I saw parts of Victoria, and Buchart Gardens. However, I’d love to go back and explore more.

Other movies filmed / set in British Columbia:

  • Jumanji (1995)
  • Double Jeopardy (1999)
  • Lake Placid (1999)
  • Agent Cody Banks (2003)
  • I, Robot (2004)
  • Miracle (2004)
  • Saved! (2004)
  • Fantastic Four (2005)
  • Shooter (2007)
  • Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol (2011)
  • Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb (2014)
  • Tomorrowland (2015)
  • Star Trek Beyond (2016)

Greece – Mamma Mia! (2008)

Mamma Mia! has become one of my favorite musicals. I need to see it on Broadway! Until then, I can’t wait to see the sequel, Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again, with my mom when it comes out in theaters in July.

Other movies filmed / set in Greece:

  • The Big Blue (1988)
  • Captain Corelli’s Mandolin (2001)
  • The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants (2005)
  • The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2 (2008)
  • Before Midnight (2013)
  • Jason Bourne (2016)

Boston, Massachusetts – Spotlight (2015)

It’s a tough subject – Child sex abuse within the Catholic Church – but Spotlight is one of those movies that I’ve seen multiple times. Maybe it’s the journalist in me?

I’ve always wanted to visit Boston. It’s one of those historic cities that I haven’t had a chance to see. In addition, I’d love to explore New England as a whole. But, Boston is a good place to start.

Other movies filmed / set in Boston:

  • The Firm (1993)
  • With Honors (1994)
  • Good Will Hunting (1997)
  • A Civil Action (1998)
  • The Boondock Saints (1999)
  • Legally Blonde (2001)
  • The Departed (2006)
  • The Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day (2009)
  • The Proposal (2009)
  • Ted (2012)
  • Ted 2 (2015)

This was a really fun post to write!

What about you? Do you have movies that have inspired you, or are inspiring you, to travel? Let me know in the comments!


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Adventure Time: Portsmouth, VA Edition (The Visit From The Vacationing Doll)

American Girl Dolls Sandcastle

Image Credit: Flickr – Julia Monroe

As most of you probably know by now, I love American Girl.

I’m also a part of a huge Facebook group called Obsessed BST (Buy/Sell/Trade), which has well over 14,000 members.

At the beginning of May, a woman named Kammi proposed an intriguing idea: Doing a traveling doll, kind of like a Flat Stanley idea. I immediately wanted to sign up!


Kammi lives in Ohio, and was great at keeping in contact with me!

The doll, Emily, belongs to Kammi’s 7-year-old daughter. Emma is one of nine children! Amazing!

Emily came to Al and I on Tuesday, May 29th. Kammi included a journal, and asked everyone to write in the journal, add pictures, and write a short bio of the family who has her. I was so excited, and Al got in on the fun, too.

Emily is now on her way to the next destination – North Carolina! – so I wanted to share my photos of The Visit From The Vacationing Doll!


Tuesday, May 29th

Emily was so excited to get out of her box and get the packing peanuts out of her hair. She made seven new friends almost immediately. Here she is spending time with my dolls.

Emily meets Autumn, Chrissa, and Z. The photo got cut off – I was so excited!

Emily meets Stephanie, Molly, mini Molly, and Kit!

They apparently had a nice slumber party. I thought I could hear them trying to be quiet!


Wednesday, May 30th

Emily spent most of the day with my dolls, when we were at work.

Once I got home, Emily joined us on the couch while we ate dinner and watched TV. We’ve been re-watching Chuck on Amazon Video.

For dessert, we made s’mores in the microwave! We had the traditional Hershey’s chocolate, but I also had one with a Reese’s peanut butter cup. Yummy!

“Oooh, yum!”

Yummy!

Emily wanted my extra candy!

As much as Emily wanted a taste, I didn’t want her to get messy! S’mores are really sticky!


Thursday, May 31st

Today was my Friday, since I was off work on June 1st for my P.E.O. Virginia State Convention! Al proposed the idea of going out to dinner, like we normally do on Friday nights, and showing Emily downtown Portsmouth.

This is the historic Commodore Theatre. The Art Deco-style movie theater was originally built in 1945, and was fully restored in 1989. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1997.

This is just one of several murals in the downtown area, honoring local musicians and other celebrities.

We stopped by the Portsmouth Courthouse. Built in 1846, it’s now home to the Portsmouth Art & Cultural Center. The fence was beautifully decorated for the recent Memorial Day holiday weekend.

Naturally, we had to stop by the Children’s Museum of Virginia, also on High Street. I think Emily was sad that it was already closed for the day. It’s been open since December 1980, but it’s been at this location since 1998. From 2009 to 2011, the entire building was gutted, expanded, and revamped to offer more interactive and spacious exhibits.

I think Emily really loved our mini-adventure!


Friday, June 1st – Sunday, June 3rd

I was in Blacksburg, Virginia, all weekend. I thought about taking Emily with me on the road trip, but was afraid something would happen to her. So, she happily stayed home with Molly and all her new friends. Al tells me they had slumber parties every night!


Monday, June 4th

Emily had to say farewell to her friends today. But, everyone was very excited for her next leg of the journey. I even wanted to send her along in a new outfit!

Before. I kept the pretty handmade dress, but the pink shoes were specifically requested to come back to Ohio. They’re in a secure baggie in the box, I promise!

After. She’s ready to go!

The School Stripes Dress was introduced in 2014. Emily is headed to her next destination in style!


We loved having a visit from the vacationing doll this past week!

Have you done anything like Flat Stanley?


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Commentary #65: “SuperShe Island: Women-only luxury retreat opening in Finland”

Image Credit: LoveThisPic

On a recent Monday, this article from CNN caught my eye:

I’ve always been fascinated with the Scandinavian region! That’s one of the many, many places on my travel bucket list!

And, I totally agree with the article’s author. Yes, I did want to relocate to the island of Themyscira after watching “Wonder Woman” this past summer. Bring it on!

This retreat paradise sounds like a super-awesome, grown-up version of summer camp. Who’s with me?!

At least it’s not like Survivor.

Excuse me while I go daydream about the beauty of Finland!

The retreat’s owner, Kristina Roth, also owns property in Turks and Caicos. She stated that if the resort in Finland is successful, she plans to renovate her additional property for a similar purpose. Yes, please! She’s already received rousing positive feedback, so I have a feeling we’ll be seeing more from her!


For more information, check out the SuperShe website.


What do you think about a luxurious women-only retreat in Finland? I’d love to hear your thoughts!


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Adventure Time: Newport News & Williamsburg, VA Edition (Greyhounds, Colonial Williamsburg, and Romantic Escape Package)

Al and I had a great weekend! We got to meet and greet some greyhounds, and then spent some time at The Williamsburg Winery!

We went to a meet-and-greet with Old Dominion Greyhound Adoption. This was their first meet-and-greet at the Care-A-Lot in Newport News. There were nine greyhounds there, with their owners, along with the Director of the group. Everyone was so nice and friendly! The dogs were incredibly sweet. We went home with an application, and are excited to start this process!


After the greyhound meet-and-greet, we went to Colonial Williamsburg for lunch. The Trellis Bar & Grill is a really nice restaurant, right in the heart of Merchants Square.

We enjoyed a hearty lunch – Al had “The Burger” and I got their tortellini.

I love the unique touches, from their birdcage lanterns, to their cute salt and pepper grinders.. Their water comes in epic bottles!

We weren’t quite full after our entrees, but we decided to spring for dessert and their signature mock-tails. For dessert, I chose their Flourless Chocolate Torte, and Al had their Burnt Sugar ice cream. Al had the “Moscow Pony” mock-tail, and I had their “No-Jito” mock-tail. They were awesome!


After lunch, we ventured 12 minutes away to The Williamsburg Winery. Al won a very generous gift card at his company Christmas party in December, which allowed us this experience!

We chose the Romantic Winter Escape Hotel Package:

  • One Night in a Tradition room, with king-sized bed and wood-burning fireplace*

  • A Tour and Wine Tasting for two at the Williamsburg Winery, including a tour of the barrel cellar and a tasting of seven wines

  • Bottle of Williamsburg Winery wine

  • Artisanal chocolates

  • $100 Dinner Voucher for Café Provençal

  • European-style Continental Breakfast for two including croissants, pastries, fresh fruit and more

We got to the winery around 4:00. We checked in around 4:15, which gave us just enough time to unload the car before the 4:30 tour and tasting.

These are the giant oak barrels where the wine is stored!

Barrels of wine in the cellar.

This is the “reserve cellar,” where a more extensive tour and tasting is held.

The shelves hold different vintages of wine, dating back to the late 1980s.

These are the three concrete eggs that hold the white wines.

Once the barrels are past their prime (Their life span is about 10 years), they are sold to private collectors, or used as trash cans in places like Colonial Williamsburg.

The tour and tasting were fabulous. Our guide, Stephanie, was incredibly knowledgeable and awesome! We tasted several different wines. It was really nice and relaxing!

The view from our hotel window. That’s the winery in the distance.

Our room at Wedmore Place was the “Brittany.” I felt like we were in Europe! The bed was incredibly comfortable. I wanted to take the mattress home!

I got to wear my new LuLaRoe Maxi!

Chesapeake Bay Crab Cakes.

Filet Mignon.

Poached Apple Tart.

Pumpkin Cheesecake.

We had an amazing dinner at Cafe Provençal, which was located in the lower level of the hotel. Everything was divine! Al got the Caramelized Onion Soup (no photo), and the Filet Mignon. I had their delicious Chesapeake Bay Crab Cakes, along with a glass of their A Midsummer Night’s White.

For dessert, Al got the Pumpkin Cheesecake, and I had the Poached Apple Tart.

There were exquisite pieces of furniture, like this, throughout!

The courtyard.

Our complimentary bottle of merlot, wine glasses, and artisanal chocolates!

Part of the package was a bottle of wine of our choice, wine glasses, and artisanal chocolates! We took it home. With our complimentary tour glasses, we have four new wine glasses at home!

On Sunday morning, we ate breakfast at the cafe. It was a lavish feast, with fresh fruit, strong coffee, assorted croissants, and quiche! We took our time, and checked out about an hour later. We went back to reality quickly – Getting gas, grocery shopping, getting ready for the new work week.

It was a much-needed mini-getaway. A piece of Europe is only 45 minutes away!


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Adventure Time: Scottsburg, VA Edition (Round 6 – The Bengdaro Wedding!)

img_0888

This was the bottom of their Polaroid photo-esque hanging photo booth!

This was the weekend we’d all been waiting for. For nearly two years, we eagerly cheered on Nick and Savy as they planned the wedding of their dreams!

Come along with me as I take you on this grand adventure!


Friday, October 13th

Al and I got up at 4:15 a.m., our normal weekday wake-up call. However, we quickly drank some coffee, and made sure we had everything important in my car. We left our driveway at 5:00 a.m. sharp!

Aside from one hasty bathroom break for me, we made it to the Beautiful Morning Farm (a.k.a., the Vardaro Farm) around 8:30 a.m. Al kept me awake with stories, water, and jelly beans!

img_0915

I think Savy took this on Thursday? I can’t remember. Regardless, this is our favorite niece, Mia. She was gathering greenery for the centerpieces. She turned 12 on Monday! Photo Credit: Savy Beng Vardaro


img_0858

This was the choose-your-own-adventure sign at the welcome table!


img_0859

Hand-painted by Savy! Isn’t she talented?


img_0867

The full photo booth, with the pond in the background.


img_0860

The pole barn, where the reception took place. The bounce house was awesome!


img_0868

Savy painted these epic cornhole boards for Mom and Dad V. several Christmases ago!


img_0862

Setting up the ceremony space!


Saturday, October 14th

I was impressed that I got eight hours of sleep. The farm was buzzing very early on Saturday morning – Savy’s family got up early for coffee and breakfast! Al’s mom was the perfect hostess and had plenty of coffee, plus egg casserole, donuts, and cereal on hand.

Around 10:00 a.m., everything got started. I was lucky enough to get my makeup done by an amazing make-up artist (MUA).

We had spouts of busy and crazy, but it was fairly relaxed, since the festivities didn’t truly start until 4:30 p.m.

Al took this awesome photo of Mia!


img_0916

This was Savy’s GORGEOUS bouquet. She designed it! So unique, so Savy.

Nick and Savy did a “First Look,” and Amanda had a field day with the two of them. So many amazing shots.

Then, the Red Army started off the wedding with a bang! The color red symbolizes good luck, and everyone made a ton of noise to scare off the bad juju and usher in celebration for the bride and groom. We had drummers. We shouted. We hollered. Flags were waved. There were bubble guns. Al flew his quadcopter above us!

 

img_0910

The Red Army processional! Photo Credit: Dan Harris.

The ceremony was beautiful and touching. The officiant, Christina, quoted The Princess Bride. Nick and Savy never stopped smiling. Nick wrote a special set of vows to Mia, and he gave her a beautiful necklace. I loved how they included her in the ceremony!

After the kiss and final music, the party began! We took family photos, and then Amanda whisked Nick and Savy away for more photos. The farm was the perfect setting – I can’t wait to see the official photos!

img_0914

I don’t know who took this particular photo, but it was requested that Nick and Savy, Al and I, and Crystal and Steven got photos together. Amanda was the photographer at all three weddings!


The handsome groom, Nick, and the stunningly beautiful bride, Savy!

 

My dad took this awesome photo of Al and I. It’s my new favorite.


We ate off of cafeteria trays, and head lamps were our favors. “It’s dangerous to go alone! Take this.”


The gorgeous centerpieces. Everything was either handmade or found.


My parents!


Mia is showing the beautiful sea turtle necklace that Nick gave to her during the ceremony. All of us ugly cried.


img_0911

Photo Credit: Dan Harris.


Cornhole!


The paper cranes were beautiful!


The bounce house, with slides!


The cake table.


The cards collection was an old guitar case!


The memory table.


Two of the amazing bellydancers, Ginger and Rachel!

There was SO MUCH FOOD. The estimate was roughly three pounds of meat per person – Basically 300 pounds in all!

During the reception, we had lively music, three incredible bellydancers, Paolo the juggler and fire performer, and more food! Nick and Savy danced to “Fools Rush In,” and Nick and his mom danced to “Simple Man.”

Uncle Dan captured this incredible shot of Paolo!! Photo Credit: Dan Harris.

And then, we danced!


Sunday, October 15th

After an amazing Saturday, we wound down the weekend on Sunday. Breakfast was simple, and Al and I hung around until 2:30 p.m. We took home tons of leftovers – Pot roast, pork butt, and BBQ chicken! I won’t have to cook at all this week – Thanks, Chuck and Angie!

Al and I got home safely around 6:00 p.m., and vegged out!

Everyone came together to make this weekend absolutely spectacular for Nick and Savy. For me, personally, I gained a sister and a niece, so I’m beside myself with happiness.

Al and I were thrilled to be a small part of it!


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Adventure Time: Roanoke, VA Edition (“Mimosas in the Mountains” – Savy’s Bachelorette Weekend!)

img_0754

This was one of our gifts! Savy got them on Etsy!

I was waiting for this past weekend for what felt like FOREVER!

This weekend was definitely full of many “firsts” for me:

  • First time visiting the Roanoke area in several years.
  • First time ever staying in an Airbnb.
  • First time going on a significant hike.
  • First time ever getting an Uber.
  • First time, since college, going out and dancing.

There were six of us sharing the Airbnb – Savy, Crystal, Vong, Anna, Brittany, and myself. We all got along great, and had a fabulous weekend!


Friday

Anna and I both were able to take the day off from work. Since I offered to make breakfast for everyone on Saturday morning, I went to Aldi and got all the fixings for French toast and bacon, plus OJ, milk, and coffee. I took my time, since I was picking up Anna at her house in Virginia Beach at 11:00 a.m. My parents offered to let me borrow one of their coolers, plus ice packs and frozen water bottles, so I stopped by their house for about 45 minutes and caught up with my mom.

I got to Virginia Beach early enough to figure out where Anna lived, then topped off my gas tank at BJ’s in Norfolk. I got back to Anna’s around 10:45. We got her stuff in the car, and then headed out!

Traffic was blissfully light – It was just a long-haul drive. We stopped for lunch at a McDonald’s just outside of Richmond. This restaurant had the traditional line, but also two new ordering kiosks. That was certainly interesting.

We got back on the road, and made it all the way to the Waynesboro area before I stopped at a Wendy’s for the bathroom, and the biggest root beer they offered. We still had about two hours left at that point!

All told, it took about five hours to reach the Airbnb in Roanoke, and we got there around 4:45 p.m. Anna and I explored the house, claimed our bedrooms, and then unloaded the car. We hung out for a while. Savy, Crystal, and Vong rode together, and arrived around 6:15 p.m.

I didn’t take a lot of photos of the Airbnb, but it was a really nice house. In addition to the six beds (Three on the second floor, and the other three in the finished basement), there was a spacious living room, sweet kitchen, and an awesome deck right off the first floor!

Once Savy, Crystal, and Vong arrived and got settled, we headed out to find dinner. The good news was we were just a few minutes from downtown Roanoke, and we had a TON of food options. Savy recommended eating as much starch and protein as we could, in preparation for the hike.

We ended up at a really cool place called Bushi. They offer sushi burritos and poke bowls. They’ve only been open for three months, but it was a nice set-up. The vegetables were incredibly fresh (The head chef / manager was slicing avocados while we were there), and the staff made everything in front of you, to your liking. I got the “Don’t Tuna Around” sushi burrito – I loved it! The only wrinkle was it fell apart really quickly, and it was pretty messy, but it didn’t matter. I ate every bite.

After dinner, we drove to the local Kroger. Vong got all the stuff for sandwiches for the hike, plus fresh apples, trail mix, a case of water, and a few other things. Savy wanted to pay for some of it, and we said absolutely not! Between Crystal, Vong, and I, we made it work.

For the rest of Friday night, we just enjoyed the amazing cool air on the deck with the patio furniture, sharing stories, popcorn, Cheez-Its, and iced animal crackers. I stayed up until 11:00 p.m. or so, but I knew I needed to get up around 5:30 a.m. to start breakfast!


Saturday

I’m glad I got up around 5:30 a.m., because I needed the prep time for breakfast! I made the French toast first, and then started on the bacon. I saved the scrambled eggs for last. I used 11 eggs total!

Vong was the first one up, and we waited for everyone else to get up to eat. It took some brain power to figure out the Ninja coffee maker, but it worked like a charm.

We ate together at the dining room table and drank mimosa with our mugs, along with coffee. After breakfast, everyone scattered to take showers and get dressed. We also slathered ourselves in sunscreen and heavy-duty bug spray.

img_0753

Scrambled eggs, bacon, and French toast with syrup.

I drove Vong and Brittany in my car, and then Savy took Crystal and Anna in hers. It was about a 20-minute drive to McAfee Knob. It’s part of the Appalachian Trail!

img_0755

The parking lot was already pretty full when we arrived, which was around 9:15 a.m. We set off to start at 9:20 a.m. There were several people coming DOWN the trail as we started!

This hike was HARD. I’m talking steep elevation, billions of rocks and boulders, thinning air, and navigating tree roots. But, it was completely worth it. I was definitely the slowest of the group, but we took several breaks for water and KIND bars to keep our energy up.

There were gigantic boulders throughout the hike!

img_0763

This was one of the places where we stopped for a break. The clearing was full of thousands of plants and wildflowers!

This was a series of photos from the top. It was absolutely breathtaking. I almost cried! It felt like a huge accomplishment. It took us 3 1/2 hours to get to the top, but it was absolutely worth it. We spent about 45 minutes at the top, where we ate lunch, people-watched, dog-watched (So many dogs!), and taking photos. According to my FitBit, it was 11,000 steps!!

img_0786

Obligatory group photo, or it didn’t happen! L to R: Brittany, Laura Beth, Savy, Anna, Vong, and Crystal.

img_0793

Most everyone had their photo taken like this. I was a little nervous, but it was awesome!

In total, it was basically a six-hour hike, round trip. I counted 22,000 steps total!

After the hike, we headed back to the Airbnb. I’m so glad Savy took me through a series of stretches, because otherwise, I definitely would not be walking so easily today! Everything from the waist down hurts, but it’s an awesome feeling.

We took showers and vegged out for several hours on Saturday. Savy and Vong made a freaking fantastic spaghetti dinner, with three pounds of meat in the sauce, plus garlic bread, and salad. I don’t know what Vong did, but she added orange juice to the leftover honey mustard for salad dressing, and it was amazing!!

After dinner, most of us took power naps, since we were going out dancing later. We had a blast!

img_0788

This was the selfie that I sent to Al before going out!


Sunday

We were able to extend the Airbnb check-out time to 12:00 p.m., which was great, since many slept in, Brittany made an amazing bread pudding for breakfast, and we had to clean up!

Brittany’s bread pudding consisted of day-old croissants, ham, cheese, eggs, green peppers, onions, and probably a few other ingredients. It was SO GOOD!

After checking out, we headed toward Charlottesville to visit the Michael Shaps Wineworks. It was on the way home, and highly recommended.

We visited the Tasting Room, and dined on amazing Brie cheese and toasted bread. Michael Shaps offers various French and Virginia wines, and it’s a family-owned business. It was really cool learning about the history of the winery, and how they grow their grapes in France, as well as Virginia. Anna got a bottle, and I bought Savy a bottle of her favorite red for the wedding!

After the tasting, we headed toward home. It was a long drive, but it was a great end to a fabulous weekend. Anna was so sweet and paid for my gas on the way home, and I dropped her off around 6:30 p.m. My car got basically 40 miles to the gallon between Friday and Sunday!!

I got home just after 7:00 p.m. Al helped me unload the car. We started a load of laundry, and then we compared notes about our weekends. Al celebrated Nick’s bachelor weekend in Virginia Beach and Richmond. Everyone was thoroughly entertained, to say the least. By 8:30 p.m., we headed to bed!


Savy – I had an AMAZING weekend. Thank you so much for including me in the festivities! I had so much fun.


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂