The engagement photos are here…

and though you may not admit it, I’m sure you were probably on pins and needles waiting for these photos. 🙂

Engagement Photo 1

No but seriously, my amazingly-talented cousin over at Nicole Clifford Photography just did the best job. And when she’s working with a couple like Jeff and me, you know she’s got her work cut out for her. Sidenote: anyone looking for a great lifestyle photographer in Kansas City should look Nicole up. She’s just all-around a lovely person.

I must admit that although I love bugging others with my obsessive picture taking, it’s much harder to be the one in front of the camera. Especially, when it comes to any kissing photos. We quickly figured out that it’s not really our thing.

engagement photos set 3^^See what I mean? I swear I really love Jeff, but every time he went to kiss me on the cheek I would naturally move away. That’s not a red flag or anything, right? Right?^^

We originally planned to take our photos outside, but the day we’d sat aside for the photo shoot on our short trip to KC over Thanksgiving turned out to be very cold and windy. Looking back, I’m so glad it was, because for our first location we ended up at an adorable urban winery downtown. And if you’ve followed this blog at all, you probably know by now that I LOVE wine (in a socially responsible way, of course).

Engagement PhotosNicole found the location for us and the folks at Amigoni were gracious enough to let us shoot a few photos in their gorgeous space. We kept it to one glass of white wine (although I tend to prefer red) to make it more photo friendly, but I can’t wait to go back and try more of their wines. The Viognier we had was delightful.

Still not willing to brave the subarctic temperatures (I’m only slightly exaggerating) we moved the shoot to Kansas City’s Union Station and their sky walks.

Engagement Photos Set 2Having shot there before, Nicole was quick to suggest it, and again, I’m glad she did. While I love the historic nature of Union Station, the sky walks offer such a clean, bright look. Perfect for a laid back feel that really showcases Jeff and me as a couple.

Now here’s where I get really cheesy…these photos make me so thankful for Jeff, family so graciously helping us out, and the big day still to come. Thanks again for following along, we can’t wait to share more of our journey!

My short trip home in a long list…

but, let me see how fast I can run through all that happened in the three days I was in Missouri last weekend. It started with a double date sans Jeff (uhh?), then onto a wedding, bridal shower + cooking class, and ended with a dinner with old neighbors and friends.

1. Double Date

But how did you go on a date without Jeff? I didn’t really. I kind of just tagged along on my little sister’s double date with her boyfriend, and their two friends. I wouldn’t say she was thrilled to have me there and she only allowed me one photo.

Home 1

I think her exact quote after I took this photo was, “okay you can go now, you’re embarrassing me.” Nothing like that to make you feel less cool.

2. Mike and Sarah’s Wedding

The main reason for my visit (not that the other events weren’t just as important!) was a wedding of a friend and sorority sister from college. It was so fun to see friends I haven’t seen in years! Years! If I have one complaint about living so far from home it’s that I don’t get to see the people I love nearly enough.

Sarah and Mike's Wedding 3

Mike and Sarah’s beautiful wedding was held at Californos in Westport. It exuded everything adorable about the couple and I loved it, including the gnome cake topper. The bride loves gnomes!

I also got to reunite with my two former roommates, Emma and Jill, who I spent two years with living in our small room in our sorority house. It’s amazing we still love each other. 😉 Emma also showed off her lovely dancing skills (B/W photo above) at the reception.

3. Future Cousin’s Bridal Shower

Sweet Ali is joining our family next month and I loved I was in town to join in on the cooking class at Bella Napoli in Brookside. If anyone needs a cooking class it’s me. Aside from celebrating the bride, I learned butter makes everything better (of course) and I ate some fabulous chicken marsala.

Ali's Bridal Shower

4. Dinner with the Ole’ Neighborhood

Last, but certainly not least, we had a little mom and daughter dinner on The Plaza with gals I grew up with.

Kansas City 1 Dinner with Neighbors

While we were missing a few, it was wonderful to get together with these ladies. Many of my childhood memories involve these women.

Okay, if you’ve made it through this whole post and you’re still reading, I’m working on some sort of prize to give you.

Such a lovely fall weekend in Missouri. As always, thanks for letting me share!

P.S. I also snuck away for a few hours to snap some engagement photos of a dear friend, but you may remember that post from a few days ago, here.

Engagement photos (oh, they’re not ours)…

but they are those of my beautiful friend and her sweet fiance.

Kathryn and Nate, who are also getting married next fall, bravely trusted me to snap a few photos before they make it official!

Kathryn and Nate 14

I have to admit I’ve never had the honor of taking engagement photos before, so for all you skilled photographers out there don’t judge me too much! I’m learning as I go.

Kathryn was one of the first great friends I made when I first moved to D.C. (back in our lowly intern days) and now somewhat ironically, she’s moved to Kansas City, while I’m still in our Nation’s Capital. I won’t say I didn’t cry a lot when she moved away. 😦

Kathryn and Nate 7

Seriously, could they be any cuter?

Last weekend while I was home in Missouri (more on that later), Kathryn, Nate and I headed down to both Westport, a neighborhood close to where they live, and the Liberty Memorial to capture a few (poor Nate) images of their relationship. Luckily they’re so cute and in love that my job was pretty easy.

Engagement Photos

I mean come on, aren’t they adorable? I’m so excited for them and can’t wait for their big day to arrive.

Kathryn and Nate 11 copy

Kathryn and Nate 2

Also, that ring. Good job Nate!

I love that I got to be a small part of this happy time in their lives, and that they let me share it with all of you! Wish them luck as they head into this next chapter of their relationship.

Legal and lovin’ it…

kind of. Can’t say my beautiful, sassy, and sweet little sister loves adult beverages as much as the rest of us, but that’s probably for the best. 🙂 However, that didn’t stop her and the rest of my family from enjoying the party!

Kelly's 21st Birthday 4Kelly’s celebration happened to fall on the same weekend as the popular Kansas City Irish Fest, so we took the party there and boy was it fun. My family has no problem tapping into their Irish roots, especially the whole beer drinking part.

Kansas City Irish Fest 1

In case you didn’t know, we’re the “City of Fountains”, and I think they’re even better when they’re green.

Kansas City Irish Fest 2 Kansas City Irish Fest 4Since we were celebrating Kelly’s new legal status, we all had to share in her moment of buying her first beer, and of course snap a few photos too!

Kelly's 21st Birthday 2 Kelly's 21st Birthday 3

Kelly's 21st Birthday 1It was so much fun to spend time with family and friends, listen to great Irish music, including my new favorite We Banjo 3, (they’re not bad looking either) and of course toast the birthday girl. She stretched out that “birthday weekend” as long as she could. Though she’s pretty cute, so it’s not to hard for her to milk it for all it’s worth.

Kansas City Irish Fest 3

Sidenote: my mom also saw them at a small pub in Ireland a year ago! Small world.

If you can't tell, it was very warm outside. We we're one sweaty mess.

If you can’t tell, it was very warm outside. We we’re one sweaty mess, but we still had to get our picture with these guys!

Shannon and Dad at the Irish Fest

Pretty lucky to have a great older sister and dad. Love these two!

Kansas City Irish Fest 5It was a great Labor Day Weekend. So thankful for the time with my family. I hope you had a great weekend too!

P.S. I’m taking a little vacation this week. but then Jeff and I plan to continue our long list of home renovations. Stay tuned!

60’s the new 40…

right? And in my mom’s case, she’s never looked better!

Mom's 60th birthday 5 Moms 60th Birthday 4Jeff and I took a break from home repairs to make a quick trip to Kansas City for my mom’s big birthday bash. In addition to some much-needed family time, I think my sisters, dad and I threw a pretty good party. 🙂

I thought I’d share a few snapshots of our fabulous weekend celebrating one great lady.

We kicked off the festivities with a family dinner on The Plaza at Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurant. So delicious!

Mom's 60th Birthday 6

How cute are my parents? Love them.

Moms 60th Birthday 7

And because one day of celebrating wasn’t enough, we had a little fiesta the next day complete with margaritas and Chipotle. You pretty much can’t go wrong with that combination.

Moms 60th Bday 3 Moms 60th Bday 2 Moms 60th Birthday 1 Moms 60 Birthday 8Moms 60th Birthday 9

Happy Birthday mama! You’re one amazing lady and I’m sure thankful for all you do for our family.

Memorial Day…

such an important day to honor all those men and women who’ve given their lives to serve our country.

Celebration at the Station 3

This year I feel so lucky to be able to spend the day with my family in Missouri.

How cute are my parents?? Such lovebirds.

How cute are my parents?? Such lovebirds.

Last night we headed to the beautiful ‘Celebration at the Station‘ at Union Station in downtown Kansas City. We met up with some of our family to listen to the Kansas City Symphony and watch the fireworks at the Liberty Memorial.

Celebration at the Station 1 Celebration at the Station 2 Celebration at the Station 5 Celebration at the Station 6

The whole night including the weather, music and fireworks were wonderful, but perhaps the most impressive performance came from a group of wounded veterans with the organization Musicorps. They were amazing, and if you ever get the chance to see them perform don’t turn it down!

Thank you to all our men and women in uniform! I hope you all had a great holiday weekend.

Some of the best bbq and frozen custard I’ve had in a long time…

if the title didn’t give it away, I’ll go ahead and warn you that unfortunately this post is not for someone watching their calories. Don’t worry, Jeff and I have to watch our waistlines 99% of the time (we’re still waiting for those fast metabolisms to kick-in), but we decided to have a little fun on Friday and check out a few places in Alexandria, Va.

Banana pudding custard anyone?

The Dairy Godmother Alexandria 6

I’m cheesy and love any date night, but this one was especially great because, who doesn’t love bar-b-Que and ice cream? Jeff being from Texas and myself from Kansas City – known for their excellent bar-b-Que (ahem, KC anyone?) – we can be kind of snobbish at times. On Friday though, we found a place we both loved, and as a bonus got warm weather and a nice date out of too!

I’d still be just as happy if all I did was spend time with this guy… 😉

Jeff on Date Night

Though I’d say he’s equally lucky for finding me. In fact, I think I was going for another bite of some bbq when he snapped this photo.

Me on Date Night

So for starters, we ended up at Pork Barrel BBQ in the Del Ray neighborhood of Alexandria. Jeff heard about this place and suggested we check it out.

In the name of giving you all a proper recommendation, we ordered LOTS of food. Which of course was the only reason we had enough food to serve a small army. 😉

Pork Barrel BBQ Alexandria

Pork Barrel BBQ in Alexandria 5

^^^Let me tell you, those BBQ nachos were amazing. Two of my favorite foods in one sitting? Yes, please!^^^

So even after the brisket sandwich, baked beans, sausage and macaroni and cheese (yikes, it doesn’t sound so good when I write it all out) we still found some room for dessert. It’s a tough job, but someone’s gotta do it. 🙂

The Dairy Godmother Alexandria

Long lines are always a sign that it must be good.

The Dairy Godmother Alexandria 5

The Diary Godmother’s banana custard (pic at the top of this post) was out of this world, but that marshmallow was quite possibly the softest one I’ve ever eaten. I’m not exaggerating, you should probably try one if you ever stop there.

And then…we went home and ran ten miles.

The last part might’ve been a lie, but since we enjoyed both places so much we thought we’d share them with all of you. Just doing our civic duty.

For those of you reading this outside the D.C. area, use this as motivation to come visit. I’ll happily take you there.

P.S. Thinking about all those in Boston.

Going Home…

is one of my favorite things to do.

There are a million reasons of course, but that girl below ranks high on the list.

Kelly and I

My sweet little sister Kelly has a way of making me feel like the coolest person in the world the first five minutes of my arrival, and then immediately telling me she’s pretty much over my visit. I guess you can be that way when you’re a decorated Special Olympics athlete – featured on a billboard – and talented gymnast. What can I say? The girl has gotten too cool for her big sister. 😉

Kelly With Special Olympics Medals

I’m jealous. I wish I had lots of medals to show off.

Kelly on the Trampoline

As I mentioned when I told you about my big grown-up purchase, I hung out with my family in Missouri for two VERY short days last week. Yet somehow, we still managed to fit in lots of eating-out and a Costco run. All the important things in life, right?

Mario's Donuts photo-20 Unk's Burgers

Notice a theme? I do. Or at least I’m noticing the extra hundred pounds I gained.

(Sidenote: you realize you’re an adult when you get excited that your parents are treating you to cleaning supplies and paper towels.)

Plus, as much as I love being home I think my dad appreciates it just as much, or I should say he appreciates Jeff’s technical and handy skills. Those two and that new car of his. I think it was their mission to figure everything out in one day.

Dad and Jeff

My two favorite guys in the world right there.

My dad and technology don’t always make for the best combination, be we sure did give Gchat a try.

Dad Learning How to GChat

After a great visit, Jeff and I packed-up and headed east. 18 hours east to be exact. But the visit wasn’t quite complete without a quick stop in St. Louis on our way out of the ‘Show Me State’ to say hi to my biggest sister. You know, the one I bragged about a few weeks ago.

Shannon and I

And while seeing Shannon was wonderful and great, what was even better was – I’m not kidding when I say this – finding the softest bagel in the world. (Sorry Shannon ;))

Mario's Bagel

I’m telling you people, if you find yourself in the St. Louis area you have stop by Mario’s Donuts and Cafe. That bagel might just change your life. Oh, and the donuts aren’t half bad either.

So…after Jeff and I ate our fair share of carbs we hit the road and didn’t stop till we made it to Virginia!

Thanks mom and dad for spoiling us for a few days. I love ya!