Weekend Recap: Wedding Festivities

This weekend we celebrated the wedding of one of Adam’s cousins to his amazing longtime girlfriend. There were multiple days of celebrations and I enjoyed the opportunity to soak up quality time with Adam’s extended family. I’d say the weekend really kicked off Thursday at lunch when I got this delicious pizza from Blaze. At Blaze they offer a myriad of toppings and let you design your own pie which they then fire in the pizza oven right as you wait. I went pretty simple with red sauce, mozzarella, ricotta and turkey meatball. It was piping hot and oh so yummy.

Blaze Pizza Baltimore Inner Harbor

Keeping in the Italian food theme, Thursday night we headed to Sabatino’s in Little Italy for a wedding welcome dinner. We had private space in their lower level and all enjoyed calamari, sausage and peppers and salad. We were offered a number of entree choices and I opted for the chicken alle marche – rigatoni with chicken, broccoli and alfredo sauce. It was very rich and I brought home enough leftovers to enjoy for lunch the next day! It was a fun place to kick-off wedding festivities and welcome all of the out of towners who had traveled in.

Friday was the wedding and I left work early for a blow out at Houte Blow Dry Bar in Harbor East. After a quick blow dry, I left with bouncy waves and went home to change before heading to Belmont Manor Historic Park. The venue was gorgeous and we sipped on strawberry lemonade while we waited for the ceremony to start. After a beautiful ceremony (that included the couples’ dogs), we enjoyed cocktail hour on the lawn and spent the rest of the evening sipping champagne and tearing up the dance floor.

crabs at captain james

Saturday we ventured across town to Captain James for a post-wedding crab feast! This was a blast and such a great, relaxed way to see everyone again after the wedding. Our party took over the covered patio overlooking the water and dined on crab soup, steamed corn on the cob and crabs, crabs, crabs. It was so fun to see out of town family trying their hand at cracking crabs and getting a real taste of Baltimore!

After all of that celebrating, I was exhausted and passed out for a nap. Adam snapped a photo of the hilarious way Jack is snoozing with me!

nap with dog

Sunday we got back together with family for brunch to celebrate all the dads. We noshed on bagels and cream cheese, mini quiches and shrimp cocktail and finished things out with birthday cake for my father-in-law’s bday. We rounded out the weekend with some grocery shopping and ramen and went to bed early!!

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First Anniversary Celebrations

This past weekend, Adam and I celebrated our first anniversary! It is crazy to think that it has already been a year since we tied the knot last spring in Baltimore. After a completely underwhelming dinner on our actual anniversary, we were super excited to spend time together this weekend doing a few special things to mark the occasion.

On Saturday we checked into the Royal Sonesta with a voucher we received for having our wedding there. Even though we live right in the neighborhood, it was so nice to return to the hotel to celebrate our anniversary. Our harbor view room was gorgeous and had the most perfect little window seat overlooking the festivities at Light City. After getting settled in our room and getting a little fancy for our evening out, we popped down to the Sonesta bar. We ordered cocktails and their thai-style calamari and spent some time at the bar watching the Final Four (go Wildcats!). We also ran into our favorite wedding planner as there was currently a wedding underway at the Sonesta. Ah it feels like just yesterday that we were walking down the aisle!!

 

Our nostalgic anniversary weekend didn’t end there, we had dinner reservations at the Rusty Scupper, sight of our rehearsal dinner. Our 50-ish person rehearsal dinner was held on the top floor of the Scupper with beautiful views of Baltimore, a buffet dinner and open bar. The Scupper was super convenient because everyone could walk over from the Sonesta (they ran a shuttle for older relatives who couldn’t make the short walk) and they were so easy to work with, accommodating all of our requests.

Throwback photos! We had such a nice time at the rehearsal, that we thought it would be the perfect place to celebrate our anniversary. We were seated at a great table with a view of the harbor, enjoyed a glass of wine and some bread while we decided what to order. Yes, we had just split some calamari at the Sonesta bar, but that wasn’t going to stop us from ordering an appetizer and we enjoyed splitting the shrimp cocktail – 5 large shrimp with a kick from horseradish cocktail sauce. Adam also had a cup of the Maryland crab soup (which was a huge hit at our rehearsal dinner). For entrees, I had the sea bass with a light lemon butter sauce, garlic mashed potatoes and green beans and Adam had the lobster tails. My fish was great, but the lobster was amazing – the lobster meat was sweet and delicious and it was perfect when dipped in the hot butter.

It’s definitely a very traditional seafood restaurant with a fairly limited menu, but I often prefer the traditional to some of the trying-too-hard modern restaurants that are trendy right now. I think the Scupper sometimes gets a bad wrap as being too much of a tourist destination (and it was packed Saturday night with Light City visitors), but the service, food and view were all fabulous which I think is more than makes up for it.

After dinner, we walked through Light City and made our way back to the hotel just in time to watch the festival from our window nook – the start of Dan Deacon‘s set and the epic thunderstorm that cut things short.

It was a lovely night and definitely helped make up for the not so great experience we had at Azumi on our actual anniversary. Everything started out great – Adam had talked to the restaurant in advance, letting them know it was our first anniversary and to pre-order a nice bottle of champagne and make sure we got a good table. We sat down, popped some bubbly and ordered four small plates to start our meal. And then some time passed…and we waited…and then a manager came by to tell us that the gas line was down in the restaurant’s kitchen so they couldn’t cook anything. This wasn’t the end of the world since it’s a sushi restaurant and they had uncooked items on the menu (though only one of the starters we ordered), but it was certainly not a good sign . We were told they were bringing in someone right away to fix it and that we would still be getting the salmon crudo we had ordered. And then we waited some more…and then it had been over an hour since we had ordered and we still hadn’t been brought anything to eat. At this point, we were hungry and it was getting late so we were about to give up and leave when we finally got our one uncooked appetizer – about two bites of raw salmon for each of us. The manager then rushed a few additional (uncooked) dishes for us as the kitchen still wasn’t fixed which we definitely appreciated, but it felt like too little, too late. The food we had was definitely tasty (my favorite was the eel bowl), but we were disappointed that we couldn’t try many of the cooked dishes on the menu that appealed to us and that we had to wait so long. Totally understand that the restaurant didn’t cause the gas issues, but felt like more could have been done to make up for it – especially when they knew it was our anniversary! They ended up comping our whole meal (thank you!), but we would have much preferred a special romantic dinner with good food and good service which is what we were expecting from a place like Azumi. In the end, we got a good story out of it and laugh at just how much of a disaster it was. At least the company was good. 😉

Have you ever had a crazy experience like that at a restaurant? How did the restaurant handle it?  

Young(ish) Year in Review

Wow, it has been quite a year in for us in Baltimore. Good times and bad, quite a few big moments and a lot of delicious food. Before we move forward into the new year, let’s take a quick look back at our 2015.

January – this year started with a bang: I began a new job in Baltimore (which I can walk to from my house!!), my amazing baby nephew was born and I traveled to the Bahamas on a cruise for my bachelorette party. In sports new, I went to my first Maryland Big Ten conference game and the Ravens, who were actually good last year, beat the Steelers in the first round of the playoffs only to lose to the pre-deflategate Patriots.

cruise two nauti shirts bachelorette turnt up for the tropics bachelorette cruise

February – included an Abby and Jeanette Galentine’s Day date at Papi’s where we feasted on tacos and skinny margaritas before meeting the fellas at Max’s Belgian Beerfest. February ended with a beautiful bridal shower thrown for me by my cousin, aunt and bridesmaids, but the month will always be remembered for an epic nine hour drive to Atlantic City in a snowstorm. Our amazing friend navigated the icy roads and Jeanette and I hopped out of the car multiple times to push us out of snowbanks on 95-North. While it probably wasn’t our smartest move, the drive was ultimately a success and we got to AC in time to celebrate our friend’s bachelorette.

bridal shower art atlantic city bachelorette 2

March – the month I married my best friend and love of my life. Our wedding weekend at the end of March was like a dream (albeit an unseasonably cold dream), we celebrated with a rehearsal dinner at the Rusty Scupper before saying our vows in front of family and friends at the Royal Sonesta.

elevator mirror pic baltimore wedding wedding baltimore

April – In April we traveled to Turks and Caicos for our honeymoon and enjoyed a week soaking up the sun in paradise with fish tacos, frozen drinks and our first time scuba diving. After we returned to Baltimore, the city flipped upside down. Freddie Gray was killed, riots broke out and the city was occupied by the National Guard. It was a weird time for our city. The sound of choppers overhead was incessant as 4-6 media/police helicopters were constantly circling around downtown. My office in the Inner Harbor was closed for an entire week. They played an O’s game two blocks from our apartment in front of zero fans. We obeyed the 10pm-5am curfew which felt particularly surreal – especially when last call was at 8pm so bartenders and staff had time to get home before 10. Hopefully, everything that happened in April was a wake-up call and the start of change and healing for Baltimore.

turks and caicos seven stars resort honeymoon national guard baltimore

May – we started this blog with our very first post! Adam and I also celebrated our five year dating anniversary on 5/15/15 at Cinghiale, enjoyed Memorial Day weekend at Breaux Vineyards and dressed like mustard (and Jeanette relish) with our bocce team. We also saw O’Malley announce his candidacy for president.

IMG_7528 baltimore social sports bocce federal hill

June – officially meant summer, the return of happy hour and going to quite a few O’s games. I also spent a weekend in New York for a friend’s baby shower, went for a jog through Central Park and had a delicious brunch at Hundred Acres.

Baltimore Orioles Game New York City Brunch

JulyIndependence Day in Baltimore brings parades, fireworks and celebrations. Also in July we went to a wedding, more O’s games and Kastles matches, had a staycation in DC and had two amazing meals at Parts & Labor and Salt.

fourth of july baltimore cocktails Salt Baltimore

August – and September brought some travel. I spent a day at the beach in Rehoboth and visited a friend in Williamsburg. Jeanette scouted a great groupon for kayaking in Essex at Island View Waterfront Cafe where we spent an awesome afternoon on the water followed by the best half and half crab soup. And let’s not forget that Tiger Woods lost his 20th major since 2010 when I bet Adam that Woods would win a major other than the Masters in the next five years. Boy, was I ever wrong on that one.

rehoboth beach kayaking in essex

September – Birthday month! I felt like I was everywhere but Baltimore in September: NJ for a wedding, a long weekend at Bethany Beach and a trip back to New York City. I celebrated my birthday with dinner at Wine Market Bistro, a day trip to Sugarloaf Mountain Vineyard, and brunch with family at Crepe Du Jour.

baltimore wedding New York Pizza

October – was non-stop falltivities: A trip to pumpkin patch, a pig roast, tailgated at a Maryland football game, went to the Renaissance Festival (where we ate literally everything: corn dog bites, mac and cheese on a stick, gyros, s’mores on a stick, warm cookies, and probably other things on sticks) and dressed up for Halloween.

Halloween maryland rennaissance festival

November – During Maryland homecoming, Jeanette, Adam and I returned to the freshman year dorm where we all met ten years ago. I’m pretty sure we also forgot that we aren’t in college any more since we spent the entire day drinking and didn’t even go the game. We also celebrated Adam’s birthday at Food Market and traveled to South Carolina for Thanksgiving with my mom’s family.

Turkey Balloon Food Market Cocktail

December – closed out the year with quality time with family and friends celebrating Hanukkah and Christmas. Jeanette and I exchanged gifts and had a festive day skating at the Pandora Ice Rink followed by lunch at Cheesecake Factory. Adam and I spent Christmas Eve with his family at Grano Emporio where we had an amazing Italian feast including antipasto, lasagna and a blood orange martini. After dinner we walked over to 34th Street and saw the fantastic light display and an equally fantastic cross-section of life in Baltimore. The block was packed with families and couples, groups of friends and several dogs, everyone was smiling and in a good mood because it was Christmas and it was Baltimore and it was over 60 degrees. What a perfect end to 2015.

34th street lights hampden baltimore 34th street lights hampden

What was a highlight of your year?

Baltimore Wedding

Six months ago my mom, future mother-in-law and best girlfriends were sipping on mimosas while getting our hair and make up done. Soon after, I would head to Federal Hill for a first look at my dashing groom. Giggly and excited, Adam and I would fail at taking serious pictures and the bright sun required us to sport shades in our Inner Harbor portraits. Don’t let the sunglasses fool you, it was freezing on March 29, but at least the sky was clear! Our wedding day was seriously the best day ever – full of love and celebrations with our closest friends and family. Since it has been exactly six months since the big day, I figured it would be a great time to share some photos and shout outs to our wedding vendors. And because I loved planning our wedding, expect a few more posts in the future about planning a Baltimore wedding, rehearsal dinner and maybe Jeanette will chime in about planning a Baltimore bachelorette and engagement party.

abby + adam march 29 2015 (16 of 622)

Getting ready with the girls at the Royal Sonesta Harbor Court. The Sonesta had just undergone a major renovation (like JUST, things wrapped up only a day or two before wedding weekend began) and the rooms were beautiful! [Side note: you may recognize some rooms in the Sonesta from the latest season of VEEP or if you’re like me and just watching The Wire for the first time pretty sure we got ready in the room the Greek is in overlooking the Harbor in the season 2 finale]. Hair done by Mindy Whelan and make up by Nicole Palermo. Both super nice and talented –  I booked them after they did my friend Lindsay’s wedding last October.

Wedding Bouquet Flowers

For flowers we worked with Anna at Flowers and Fancies. Anna was easy to work with and helped me stay in budget. I don’t know much about flowers so we used my pinterest board as inspiration and used several shades of pink roses.  Our bouquets arrived to the bridal suite while we were getting ready and it was a surprisingly exciting moment! The flowers were fresh and gorgeous and really made me feel like it was “go time”.

Wedding Invitation - Traditional Classic Formal

Obviously we had to get a pic of our beautiful invitation by Jenifer Sirkis Designs. Jen was great to work with did our programs, rehearsal dinner invites, table numbers and some additional signs for the wedding.

First Look Baltimore Wedding Federal Hill

First look on Fed Hill! Thanks to Rich Kessler Photography for capturing all of these amazing moments! I loved our first look and the chance to see Adam before the wedding. Definitely one of my favorite parts of the day. Adam’s tux was from Tuxedo House and my dress was from Francesca’s Bridal. It had pockets and made me feel like a princess.

abby + adam march 29 2015 (144 of 622)

Our amazing bridal party all dolled up. My bridesmaids chose their own blush pink dresses in the style they liked best – many ended up being from JCrew or Nordstrom.

carausel baltimore inner harbor wedding photography

Ketubah Baltimore Wedding

Before long it was time to sit down with our Rabbi and sign our Ketubah (the Jewish marriage contract). I ordered my Ketubah on Etsy but the designer is local and I was able to pick it up in Baltimore County.

Royal Sonesta Ceremony Baltimore Wedding

Ceremony time in the beautifully redone Sonesta. Chuppah was from Flowers and Fancies. Music for our ceremony was classical guitar played by Ben Sherman and included some of our favorite songs like The Cure’s Just Like Heaven.

Royal Sonesta Baltimore Wedding Photography

The Sonesta was great because it had separate spaces for the ceremony, cocktail hour and dinner that could accommodate our 200+ guest list.

Band Wedding Baltimore

Our band, DC Fusion kept people on the dance floor all night long! The band can make or break the wedding and they did a great job of keeping energy up and playing songs that everyone enjoyed.

Wedding Cake Baltimore Cakery

Mmm cake time. Our cake came from Baltimore Cakery and it was absolutely perfect – gorgeous and delicious. Everyone raved about the Little Italy flavor – cinnamon cake with cannoli cream frosting. The wedding cake topper was another etsy find and was incredibly detailed to look just like us (with our dog, Jack!). It was another one of my fave details from the day!

All in all, everything was absolutely magical and I’ve loved reliving it writing this post. If you are interested in learning more about my and Adam’s story, check out this piece that appeared in the Washington Post the week after our wedding.

Are you planning a wedding in Baltimore? What was your favorite part of your own wedding? 

 

[Long] Weekend Update!

I had the best weekend! Just the right mix of fun and relaxation, this long weekend was exactly what I needed.

We had two great meals in Baltimore. Friday night Adam and I wanted something easy so we walked into Federal Hill for dinner at Zaatar (the new name of Ali Baba). It’s BYOB so we brought a bottle of white to share and we each ordered the chicken kabobs. The chicken was juicy and flavorful and comes with amazing hummus, perfectly spiced salad, grilled tomatoes and onions, and the pita equivalent of crack. The crack pita or as the call it “Ali Baba Bread” is almost like a Mediterranean quesadilla with what I think might be red pepper, onion and cheese grilled between two super thin pitas. So. so. so. good.

Zaater chicken kabobs

Monday we met up with some family that was in town for brunch at Donna’s in Cross Keys. I wasn’t feeling breakfast food and opted for a lamb burger with sweet potato fries which were delicious. Adam’s omelette was definitely the winner though with creamy goat cheese and big chunks of portobello mushrooms.

donnas goat cheese omelette

We also went to two beautiful weddings! Saturday we drove up to New Jersey for the wedding of one of Adam’s high school friends. The bride and groom were so adorably happy all night and their venue was awesome! My love for passed apps ensures that the cocktail hour is my favorite part of most weddings, but this is especially true at New Jersey/New York weddings that always have the most ridiculous cocktail hour spreads. This one included a pasta bar, a carving station, mussels and gyros! We danced up a storm and before we knew it the night was ending, but not before s’mores at the fire pit and pizza at the after party. Suffice it to say, we were very well fed.

Le Tote Dress

Rocking a long dress that recently arrived from Le Tote!

Sunday night was round two at the Douglass-Myers Maritime Park for the wedding of one of my business school friends. The setting of their ceremony was absolutely picture perfect, on a pier on the Eastern side of Baltimore’s Inner Harbor. The bride, who works in fashion, knocked it out of the park with her gorgeous dress and both families were clearly so excited about the nuptials. Cocktail hour was another smashing success with amazing crab cakes and the rest of the night passed in a flash of dinner and dancing.

baltimore wedding

Monday I had the strength for brunch and some errands before crashing with the most amazing nap in the afternoon. As we all know, the best part about a long weekend is the subsequent short week at work and this week if even better as I only have two days in the office before heading to the beach on Thursday. YAY! Hope everyone has a great week!

What was the highlight of your long weekend?