Four Years

Four years ago, Shaun and I got married.

We had an amazing wedding weekend in Aruba, filled with lots of family and friends. We spent our days lounging, celebrating, drinking and jumping off a dock into the cool blue water. Four years has flown by in a flash and I can wait to see what the next 40 bring to us!

 

and 4 years later...

Happy Four Years, my love! Here's to 100 more.

How We Spent V-Day

I woke up extra early this morning because I couldn't breathe and was incredibly uncomfortable. I have the onset of a cold or sinus infection and it's not pretty. I am really hoping that it is fleeting because the whole fam is headed to Penn State this weekend to see Christine Bean and for THON and I want to be in tip top condition!

Anyhow, yesterday was Valentine's Day. Did you celebrate?

Shaun and I had a low key evening...my favorite kind. We decided not to do gifts and instead just cards. Somehow, we both still had a similar candy idea though! Reese's Pieces for him and Reese's Peanut Butter Cups for me :)

I love Reese's Pieces, but to me, nothing compares to a peanut butter cup...it's my all-time favorite candy! Conversely, Shaun doesn't like the 'fake' pb in pb cups, but loves the kind in Reese's Pieces. To each his own! I dug right into my peanut butter cups as a little appetizer :)

Shaun also picked up a pretty mixed bouqet of flowers for me and had some delicious red wine aerating for us by the time I arrived home from work. Love that man.

Instead of going out, we decided to go all out for dinner at home. Shaun picked up two porterhouse steaks and I left the cooking to him. After seasoning them with nothing but salt and pepper, he pan-seared them in butter in a cast-iron skillet and then finished them off in the oven for a few minutes. Bellissimo.

I was in charge of the side dishes. To get a little fancy, I decided to make classic mashed potatoes. So incredibly unhealthy, but so wonderfully delicious. I used my mom's recipe with a few tweaks; just a little less butter and half and half instead of heavy cream. No matter, they were still decadent, creamy and such a treat. The key to great mashed potatoes is lots of salt in the cooking water, cooking them until fall-apart tender, and then mashing them with a hand mixer/beater. Trust me on this one. They are so easy and so worth it!

I also roasted up some asparagus for some greenery.

We finally sat down for dinner around 8:15. The money shot:

Oh yeah. And yeah, I only ate like a third of that steak. It was ginormous!

For dessert, I picked up 2 oversized chocolate chocolate chip cookies from City Bakery in NYC.

I simply heated them in the microwave for 20-30 seconds, topped with a scoop or two of light vanilla bean ice cream and finished them off with pink and red sprinkles for good measure. Gotta get with the holiday theme!

We tried to end the night with episode 1 of Homeland via On-Demand, however, Verizon wasn't digging our plans and we couldn't get it to work. We will have to try it again tonight! Instead we watched Castle from Monday night and an episode of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia. My kinda Valentine's Day.

Questions of the Day:

How did you spend Valentine's Day? With a significant other? With your best girls?

Did you eat anything special? Or anything especially pink or red?

Our Pirate-Themed Beach BBQ Rehearsal Dinner

First thing's first...when I arrived home last night I had a fabulous gift waiting for me. Lindsay at The Lean Green Bean had sent me a birthday gift! She sent this adorable tote and a very sweet card. I cannot wait to rock this to cart around summer goodies, my shoes and lunch to work or even to the beach! I love Lindsay's blog because she always has great, healthy ideas and she uses ingredients that all of us have on hand. Thank you Lindsay!

Today I'm still dreaming of my beach wedding, and so I thought it would be fun to also tell you about our rehearsal dinner since it was just as fun as the wedding itself. As part of our wedding weekend in Aruba, Shaun's parents graciously hosted a rehearsal dinner for all 80 of our guests who had traveled for the wedding.

We started the evening with a rehearsal under a big white tent at the Westin Aruba Resort, in prep for our sunset beach ceremony the following evening. While Shaun donned a Tommy Bahama shirt (in my favorite color), I rocked a cute black and white dress from White House Black Market with pearls which were a gift from my dad. I also carried my ribbon bouquet, which was made by my bestie Catherine at my bridal shower.

My dad definitely had a tough time at the rehearsal. I think the idea of his oldest daughter getting married started to set in! My dad and I are very close. I was SO excited to marry Shaun, but admittedly a part of me was very sad that my 'kid' days with my parents were ending for good.

With all my ladies after the rehearsal...Love them all!

Following the rehearsal, we headed down to the Holiday Inn, where Shaun's parents had planned a beach barbecue!

Complete with food, wine & beer and a DJ to boot, I'm pretty sure this was truly a one-of-a-kind rehearsal dinner.

Not only did they plan a great party, but they also handed out party favors at the start of the barbecue...pirate gear! Everyone received a bandana, eye patch and giant gold hoop earring. After all, nothing says ice breaker like pirate paraphernalia. Both of our dads rocked the pirate look...

We all settled in for some delicious food and drink...

...followed by an evening of dancing under the stars!

I have to say that this was one of the best nights of my life. The best part about this dinner was that all of our friends and family on both sides got to know each other before the wedding! By the time the wedding actually rolled around, different friends and family members were becoming friends! My cousins were hanging out with my friends; our families were intermingling. I really can't think of anything better.

I'm not going to lie...there may have been multiple playings of Bon Jovi's Livin' on a Prayer. We are from Jersey, after all.

Christine, Me & Lindsey

Shaun dancing with my sisters, Kimbelry & Christine

Dancing with Catherine

A group of our AMAZING friends who joined us for the weekend!

No one wanted the night to end. We kept yelling to the DJ, "One more song!" And to our delight, he obliged.

 

Our group of 'non-parents' at the rehearsal dinner - love all of these people!

So there you have it...our fantastic and extremely unique rehearsal barbecue on the beach. So what do you think? Have you ever been to an out-of-the-ordinary rehearsal dinner? Any other themed ones out there?