Monday, February 17, 2014

october backlogs: the state fair

Remember that time we almost died trying to go to the state fair?

Well, luckily, this trip was nothing like that! :)

We were thrilled to be going back to North Carolina for the state fair -- and not only we were going back, but we were going back with friends who went every year! NC natives!
This was exciting on many levels, but mostly because they knew where all the best fair food was. And fair food is the reason for fairs.

But let's back up a little bit -- our day actually started downtown.
We were leaving around lunchtime for the fair, so we had some time to kill -- and some other friends of ours, Jon and Emilie, had asked if we wanted to meet at White Hart that morning for some coffee and a trip across the street to the farmer's market. We happily agreed.
Little did we know it was all one big clever ruse to get us to White Hart.

As you know, our friends Allison and Greg had moved back to Illinois after graduating law school...

We walked into the coffee shop, and around the corner I saw Emilie and Jon at a table.
As we rounded the corner I spotted another friend from church, so I went over and gave her hug and started chatting - out of the corner of my eye I saw Dusty go over to Jon and Emilie's table, and I felt eyes on me.
That's when I saw Greg and Allison next to them!
It took me a really, really long time to compute what exactly was happening. I don't even think I said goodbye or "excuse me" before walking away from the girl I was talking to, mid-sentence. It was a very strange experience.'re in Illinois! But you're gone! What is happening!

They had moved back. Without telling us, without telling anyone really!
Greg had taken a job about an hour outside of Lynchburg, and they were officially back in our lives!

(As I'm writing this, they're currently back in Illinois -- they were here for almost exactly 3 months before deciding they needed to be back home, for good. But more on that later!)

After such a crazy and exciting shock, we were off to North Carolina! We promised to help them unpack and move in during the week, and left downtown in very high spirits.
We carpooled to NC with Colin and Victoria, and headed over to the fair!
We got there right as the sun was setting, and prepared ourselves for a perfect evening of lights, sights, and all-you-can-eat goodies.
Just a little bit of a life lesson, though -- don't drink too much liquid, and go to the bathroom before you get into the fair. State Fair port-a-potties are the devil.

It was such a fun night!
Hot french fries with vinegar, bloomin' onions, mini donuts covered in cinnamon and sugar, corn on the cob, chocolate covered cheesecake on a stick, fried cookie dough, more hot french fries with vinegar (they were my favorite), games, fireworks.

Just so you know, I didn't eat all that food. It was a group activity.

We also got to meet Victoria's sister Shelby, who joined us, and it was so much fun!
We walked around, toured the various exhibits, and Colin and Victoria held up their tradition of getting a button made with their photo on it. Victoria and her family have been doing it for years! To get the buttons made you go into this weird little button-clad gypsy shack, and we were a little worried they'd be taken by the gypsy inside. We told them to yell if they were stolen, or turned into chickens.
Dusty and I went a little ways away and were able to get a photoshoot in, and we went on our merry way! (The gypsy made them a button, but nothing more).
Eventually the boys got sucked into the tricky games that bleed you dry of all your cash. Specifically the fishing pole/bottle game, if you know what I'm talking about. Most fair-goers do.
You hold a fishing-type pole with a ring on the end, and your goal is to drop the ring around the neck of the glass bottle and pull it precariously upwards. If you're able to get it standing up, you win!

We didn't win.

But, who cares?
(hint: the boys did).

Still, it was a perfect night. We enjoyed being childish with our skipping and singing and smiling from ear to ear. 
The night ended with a fireworks show, and we wearily said farewell to the fair and all its glorious haunts. We waved goodbye to the gypsy, shuffled our feet into the night. It had been such a cool evening, a little drizzly at times, but sweet and autumnish.

Once out in the parking lot, we realized that the fair's many pleasures end pretty abruptly once you're out of there. Suddenly you become afraid of being mugged or killed in the dark alleyways, where you're forced to park because of the immense crowds.
Luckily we had been able to park fairly close, so we gave Shelby a ride to her car - which was a wise choice, because it was the sketchiest little backyard parking spot ever, and I'm pretty sure I saw evil eyes in the bushes. Or it was the bloomin' onion talking.

We headed out and went to our shared hotel room at the Red Roof Inn.
Once we got ready for bed, Dusty looked at me, holding the souvenir cup we had bought with that look in his eyes. Dusty has a weakness for souvenir cups. I'm not really sure why, but he has to keep them. It's a compulsion, a weird kind of collection. I finally said no, no, no, we do NOT need that because we have 500 Dickie's cups that you also have to keep (even though I keep secretly throwing the old ones out.)
Dusty acquiesced, then turned to Colin and Victoria and asked if they'd want to keep it.
Colin said "Noooo," right as Victoria meekly said, "Yes!"
It was then, after a lot of laughter, that we started to realize that Dusty and Victoria are the same person, and Colin and I are the same person.

We chatted a little longer and drifted off to sleep, looking forward to the next morning when we'd be touring Colin and Victoria's college campus!

Chapel Hill is kind of magical.
We started out the morning by grabbing breakfast at a cute little waffle shop on their main street. It's a really big, lush, active campus with a great line of shops and restaurants. It was actually a really chilly day, so it felt great to slide into a booth and order some waffles and hot coffee.

All the leaves were mid-change, and the sun was shining. It was a beautiful fall day.
We ended up getting more coffee down the street at Caribou Coffee before continuing our luxurious tour of Colin and Victoria's yesteryear. 

I'm not sure you could get any more different than our college campus experience. The brick, the hundreds of giant trees, the green.
We walked along and they told us tales of their years there, roommate stories and the perilous experiences of waking up late to class and managing to somehow sprint there in one minute flat. 

College is such a magical time. What's weird about making friends here/as an adult is that often you miss some of the most bonding experiences that you're used to having together. Things like high school, college, or weddings -- most of our friends from home we've either known our whole lives, or met in college. We've been in/at their weddings. 
Because most our friends here are already married and (obviously) out of college, this was an extra-special experience to be able to have a glimpse of what their lives were like when they were just dating, going to college and making all these memories.

And, for what has become a very typical thing for the four of us, we decided to set up the camera on a nearby bench in order to take ridiculous pictures.

(It turns out we're really, really awful at trying to time jumping).


Once we had finished our tour, we hit the road to head back home.
We stopped by Southern Season and shopped around a bit, because it's a pretty fun specialty department store. We sampled some cheeses and I filled a candy bag with gummy frogs, because they're my favorite and I can never find them anywhere. I think I finished the entire bag by the time we made it back.

Needless to say, it was the beginning of many more fun trips with Colin and Victoria. Or, Colinoria. 
It was a great North Carolinian weekend.

Friday, February 7, 2014

october backlogs: needtomeet needtobreathe

In early October I decided to participate in a crazy contest that would allow both Dusty and I to go to Richmond with 2 free tickets AND a meet and greet for my favorite band, Needtobreathe. 
I wasn't sure if I could win -- but shortly after I began, I became crazed with the possibilities. 
It wasn't a hard contest -- all I had to do was scroll through their pictures, listen to their music, etc. from this contest site in order to accrue points, and share the content so that others could do the same. Whenever someone clicked on my link, I would get triple the points!
The best part was it actually showed my placement in the contest. I started out in like 300th place, then slowly began climbing the ladder...thus, my crazed obsession.
I became that person, the one that mass-messaged people I haven't talked to in years, that posted multiple times a day, that even texted and begged.

The last day of the contest, I'm pretty sure I was milliseconds away from cardiac arrest.
I had been going back and forth from 1st to 2nd place, and as the time whittled down to the last 60 seconds, it took everything in me not to scream for that full minute in the middle of my tiny office in interlibrary loan.
But then:


I could hardly wait, but eventually October 12 did come and we were on our way to Richmond for the concert!

We had been to Richmond before, and had a really great time. It's a really cool city!
(I went for the Color Run there, and then Dusty and I went there over the 4th of July). 

We decided to head down that afternoon, to get settled into our hotel before we went to the downtown venue, The Canal Club.
The concert didn't start until around 8, but we wanted to be there at 6 so we could be in line for the Meet & Greet beforehand.

It started to rain a little bit while we were outside, so they slowly started letting in the VIP people (and yeah, I was totally on the VIP list, yo!). Once we were inside, I felt so incredibly cool.
The venue was low-ceilinged, dark, wooden, cozy. It was the kind of venue that made it feel like you were part of an elite secret club. The stage was tiny, and there was a little bar area in the back and a few booths and tables up against the wall.

They already had the band merchandise tables set up, so once they finally started the line and the band came out (OMG, Dusty, there they are, I think I'm gonna pee my pants) Dusty ran over and grabbed a poster so we could have something for them to sign. 
I honestly I had no idea what to say to them. I didn't wanna be creepy, I didn't wanna be a superfan, so I just settled for shaking each of their hands, saying their names out loud, smiling like an idiot, telling them we loved their music and that this would be our 5th concert, and that we were so excited for it. 

We totally fit in, amiright?

I felt really hesitant walking away from them and letting the line continue. I tried to think of anything else to say, but made myself shuffle my feet away. Keep cool. 

The meet and greet continued, and Dusty and I went and plopped down at one of the tables. We hadn't eaten yet, so Dusty and I went and ordered some chicken fingers, fries and sodas while we waited. It was so quiet, because there weren't that many people inside yet. It was amazing.


As soon as the band went backstage, people started crowding around the front of the stage in anticipation of the non-VIP peeps pouring in. We brought the rest of our food and joined them at the front, and let me tell you, it was a good decision. Because people were intense about their places in the crowd. Once we were settled there, there was no going back. People filled in on all sides, and we were trapped. No bathroom, no refills, no cutting. 

At one point a guy tried to creep through from the side, claiming he had a friend on the other side, and halfway through he just turned around and left.
He was full-on harrassed by the girls behind us (who I decided I would easily become best friends with), and after their pestering and incriminating questions, it was clear there was no friend, he was just trying to get in the front without waiting like the rest of us did.

The first band was Ivan & Alyosha, and they were absolutely incredible live. We had never heard of them before, but their harmonies were stunning. They did their entire set acoustically, because their drummer couldn't make it to this concert. I forget why. 
But we were so excited to have a new band to love!
(Take a look at their acoustic versions of Fathers Be Kind, Don't Want to Die Anymore, and Running For Cover -- it'll give you a tiny taste of what they sounded like live!)

We were able to meet them after the show, and they were so nice! We chatted for a while, asking them about tour life, and they signed their CD for us.
That's one of the bonuses of such an intimate venue, for sure. Being able to hang with the bands, stay until midnight, eat and drink and be merry.
The place was packed, though, to be sure. Needtobreathe wanted to do these small venues for an intimate tour, paying homage to their humble beginnings and hitting the spots that meant a lot to them when they first started. While a lot of people were bummed because it limited their tour range and the number of tickets that could be sold at each event, it was such an incredible experience and I'm so glad they did it. The music was literally living inside of us, strumming our heartstrings and pulsing inside our veins.
It was absolutely the most incredible concert experience of my life.

The one downside, I will say, is that they wouldn't let us bring our camera in. Which is such a huge bummer, especially when we were so close and could have gotten some incredible shots
Having our iPhones as our only tools for capturing the night was disappointing, but I think it also allowed us to focus a bit more on the music.

They did a song called Oh Carolina from their new album, which is supposed to come out in April! I was pretty excited about it, because I had just bought a shirt with Oh Carolina on it at the merchandise table right before the concert.
One of our favorite parts was when they told us that they had met some fans on the street earlier that day that were coming to this concert, and they asked them to play something from their first album. 
Bear apologized ahead of time, in case he forgot the words, because they hadn't played it in years!
They played Haley, which prompted the girls behind us to freak out (apparently the leader of their pack was named Haley and this was her favorite song ever in the world). 

I love when they play their more acoustic songs, because they're so dang good at it. The last few concerts we've seen, they finish the night with an a cappella bit, and it's my absolute favorite part of the evening. 
At another concert last year (in Charlotte, NC) they did Difference Maker, which is another song from their new album.
It's one of my all-time favorites - I personally think it supersedes their typical style in a way that's really unexpected. It's beautiful - it gave me goosebumps the first time I heard it live, and it still does!

This time they did a fun acoustic/a cappella version of their song Something Beautiful, which was really cool.

Overall it was the best, and we had such an incredible time. It's really hard to explain something like that, but Dusty and I just kept squeezing each other's hands and mouthing this is so amazing throughout the evening.
Once they finished their last song and left the stage, it was such a sad feeling! Even after 3+ hours of music, I wanted more. More more more. We were high on life.

We left the venue really late, I think around 12, but we were wide awake.
Once we got close to our hotel and remembered the Denny's right next door, Dusty pulled right into 24-hour restaurant without even asking me - we both knew it had to be done. We had to debrief. We had to eat breakfast food. We had to just drink it all in, and by "it" I mean the music and a crappy cup of coffee.

I won't gush too much about Dusty, even though he's totally gush-worthy, but it's trips and experiences like this that make me so happy I married him. Being able to share my favorite band with him, being able to know each other so well it's kind of creepy. When I'm old and grey I'll be able to point to that night and say, oh man, remember that feeling? Remember that place? Remember?
And unless we're both senile, he'll say yes, it was one of the best. 
Couples who have fun together stay together.

The next morning, we decided to yelp out a place to go to Sunday brunch. We chose the Continental, and it was amazing! Their bananas foster waffles were out of this world, and their special of the day was a breakfast mash of potatoes, brisket, jalapenos, bell peppers, sunny-side up eggs...we ate ourselves into tastebud heaven before heading back out into the rain to drive back to Lynchburg.

We listened to Ivan & Alyosha all the way home, and thanked the Lord for such a beautiful weekend.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

october backlogs: my 25th

I'm 25. 
That took me way too long to type. I think I have arthritis.
(#OldLadyCaity was my official birthday hashtag).

I actually turned 25 on October 5th, 2013, and I was lucky enough to have a pair of people who love me like crazy and wanted to decorate and celebrate all week long!
I love birthdays, and this was an extra special one -- not only was it the last birthday of our Virginia years, but it was 25. Twenty-five. Whaaaaat.
So coming home to the apartment all glammed up by Dusty and my best friend from home, Becky, made it all the merrier!

Becky had visited once before, but it was October of our first year here and there wasn't much to show her yet! We had only lived here for a few months, so we hadn't chosen any favorite restaurants, hadn't discovered any of our favorite little gems - so it was really exciting to have a week full of birthday festivities and Virginia explorations with my BFF in tow.

We went to Arosto for lunch on one of her first days here, but regrettably, she was attacked by stink beetles outside and I think she vowed never to return.
Luckily we had other plans to restore her faith in Virginia food!

First on the docket was to take her to Jimmy's on the James.
If you've read this blog ever in your life, you know this is pretty much our go-to for any guests that come to town!
It's jazzy, snazzy, and completely unique to our little town.

Becky and Dusty are a great duo. Bests.

She and I are also a great duo. He and I are also a great duo.
We're a great trio because we're made of great duos.

(Funnily enough, Jimmy's ended up being extraordinarily busy and we had to wait a really long time for our food -- plus our waiter was a bit distracted and overbooked.
We were really striking out here!
The bright side is that they comped some of our meal, so we were able to forgive the wait and the slow service. It's still on my list of favorites.)

I love a great story, and Bex and I are definitely that.
All the fun things feel better when she's around. She's the friend that has lasted from birth until now, through and despite of the rocky middles and long distances.
She's the best and the weirdest.

side note: this grass was irrigation grass...and it proved fatal to us all.
the stench once we got back into the car was overwhelming. we rolled down all the windows, only to realize it was our shoes that were creating the fetid odor -- oh, and also my hands, due to my ridiculous foot-grabbing poses.

We had such great plans for this weekend.
But, in keeping pace with the weird mishaps with our Lynchburg meal experiences, most of them were pretty much blown apart by the fact that we had a super random heat wave right dab in the middle of our plans, as well as a government shutdown.
Did I mention the great plans involved going to Washington D.C.?

I think even the daftest American knows that a government shutdown means everything you'd wanna see in DC is a no go. We went anyway, because food and stuff.

Oyamel, sweet Oyamel, and their tasty brussels sprouts.
In my opinion, you haven't truly lived until you've shocked yourself by learning you actually love brussel sprouts. It's a secret only the best of people know.

We met up with (and stayed with) our friends Jeremiah and Christina, who were expecting their first baby in the next few months! (He is now born and healthy and so darn cute!)
They are to blame/thank for all of the restaurants we adore in DC. Oyamel is one of the places they took us when we came our first year of law school with our friends Chris and Heather.

We were so excited to be able to meet with them again and eat there, completing the full circle of freshly made guacamole and great conversation. 
They were willing to meet us for a late reservation since we had to drive the four hours into the city after work, and we were so happy they did! They're the best.

After dinner, we walked back to the subway station to head back to the apartment.
It was late, and we couldn't wait to hit the hay in preparation for a long day of fun and sightseeing!

Becky and I don't hug.
It just doesn't happen. We don't even put our arms around each other when we take pictures.
Usually, if we try, something awkward happens, like we drop something, or an accidental butt graze occurs. We figured out at some point during our best friendship that everyone is happier if we keep the physical affection to a minimum. Meaning, zero. Well, okay, not zero. We're very good high-fivers.
We're both very comfortable in our own spaces. We can be affectionate with other people (I've found I'm really only affectionate with the people that ask for it/need it), but not with each other. 
Our last full hug was in May of 2012. True story.
We both were so squeamish afterwards that we vowed, never again.

So while we waited for the subway in DC, I hug-attacked her.

It's a very effective weapon, and I will use it in the future as need be.

The next day, we were in full sightseeing mode! It was my actual birthday.
Even though we were really wishing for a miraculous cool fall day, what we got was an imitation of summer. We were hot all day long but we braved it for the sake of patriotism.

We've rented bikes pretty much every time we've come to DC because it's the perfect way to see the city. I was determined to wear a dress on my birthday, one that my mom had sent me for the occasion, but in retrospect dressy bike-riding is quite a difficult sport.

I did a lot of standing and coasting and readjusting. But mission accomplished.

Of course the biggest deterrent to our sightseeing was the government shutdown.
We were about to see a lot of crazy things, but didn't really know that at the beginning.
The first things to stand out to us were a few monuments that were still open because of rangers that were showing up for work unpaid. They were volunteering their entire day to allow visitors and patriots to visit those monuments, which was a wonderful thing. 

Never have I ever seen such an empty, peaceful Lincoln monument.

It felt very zombie apocalypse-ish. 

There were still people wandering around, though, enjoying the sunshine and looking at Lincoln from afar.
Plus, both the Vietnam and the Korean memorials were open by the rangers, and they are located on either side of the Lincoln monument, so there was traffic around and between those two spots.

This is when the crazy stuff started to happen.

I was watching the bikes while Dusty and Becky checked out the Korean War Memorial -- she had never been, so all of this was new to her. I volunteered to stay with the bikes so I could just stand still for a minute in the shade.
As I was there, I heard some commotion and turned around to see crowds of people around Lincoln. There seemed to be some buzz of activity, and then suddenly, people were rushing up the steps!
It was a tourist stampede!

I didn't know it at the time, but apparently Michelle Bachmann had gone to the barricades and moved them. It was a big deal. The ranger standing at the entrance to the Korean War Memorial radioed her superior, I'm assuming, telling them that there were people passing through the barricades.
I knew this moment wouldn't last long so I signaled over to Dusty and Becky to hurry up.

People were so excited that this was happening. It was a big down with the system moment for all these strangers. There were people shouting Michelle's name, excitedly talking about how they saw her, how she had (supposedly) opened the barricades because there was a little boy whose birthday wish was to see Lincoln.
I stayed with the bikes again so that Becky and Dusty could run up there (I know it seems like I was just totally lazy and didn't want to run up those burning steps in the middle of the day, but really, yes, I was just totally lazy.)

It was kind of a crazy thing to witness.
Before long some policemen on horses rode up, and everything kind of simmered down, and people dispersed. The whole thing happened in maybe 20-30 minutes, and then it was over and it was as if it had never happened.

But then we rode away on our bikes and in true birthday-miracle fashion, WE SAW A FOX right in front of our faces.

Which, admittedly, was way more exciting to me than the barricade ambush.
Does that make me a terrible American?

Our next stop was the WWII memorial. 
Our path was blocked by a crowd surrounding an older man on a bike, holding two huge American flags in each hand.
He made a long and impassioned speech about America, what it should look like, and how horrendous and unspeakable it was that the government shutdown was forbidding patriots and veterans from their memorials. It was quite the spectacle, and everyone was silent as he was yelling out.
It was just one thing after another, and we just propped our bikes up with our mouths hanging open. This is officially a crazy day. 

We managed to make our way through the crowds and into the memorial, which had a ranger standing at the entrance where the barricades were opened just enough for people to pass through.
As we walked up toward him, he looked straight at us and said, "The park is closed today. Yes, the park is closed today." As people were walking right by him and into the monument.
It was quite comical, and it made me like him a lot.

As we finished looking around, we went back the way we came and observed the crowds still lingering. It was then that we saw buses of WWII veterans unloading their precious passengers, and the crowd of people erupted into cheers, waving American flags and shaking their hands.
Some of the men were in wheelchairs, some were using walkers -- but all of them were touched and invigorated by the show of love and support from these people.

It's very hard to explain the buzz in the air, the feeling of unity and respect and history and the many lives around us.

Being a young person that has no context for what war is really like, I found myself trying to imagine these men as young people as well -- what it must have been like, what they must have been like, all those years ago.
It made me cry a little to see so many kids there, shaking the hands of these men.

The best part was definitely when one of the veterans spotted Becky, and immediately came over and gave her a hug, exclaiming that she was the most beautiful girl he had ever seen.
Did I mention Becky isn't the craziest about hugging?

He had his arm around her the entire time we were talking with him, and it was hilarious. 
We were able to snap a picture with him, and it definitely went into our book of weirdest and best memories of the week.

The rest of the day was bike riding and silliness.

We went all the way to Good Stuff Eatery for lunch, because it's the best of things.
I've written about it before so I won't go crazy in detail, but if you ever find yourself floating into the doors of supreme burger heaven, grab yourself some thyme and rosemary fries, a toasted marshmallow shake, and the Prez Obama burger (unless you don't like horseradish sauce, which is crazy talk -- then I suggest Spike's Sunnyside).
I'm not gonna lie, by the time we got there we were sweaty and hangry. It felt good to sit and eat and just chillax, and let our hangry selves calm down a bit with burger in our bellies.

After lunch we leisurely made our way over to the nearby Starbucks for a drink and some more air conditioning. Becky was meeting a friend there who worked in DC at the time (we both knew her from Casa Grande days), so we just enjoyed the cool stools and coffee smells while we waited for her.

Then it was off to more sightseeing! (and happier attitudes, now that we were cool and full).

There's definitely a reason why we've been to DC more than anywhere else in Virginia since moving out here.
There's something really amazing about being in this city -- obviously the historical aspect of it provides a kind of surreal viewing experience, as well as the tremendous amount of art. 
But there's something else, too - maybe it's the layout, maybe it's the bike-riding, maybe it's the rhythm of the city itself. But sometimes you just look around you and feel you're looking at something really beautiful.

Our next stop was Georgetown, because we had reservations for dinner!
In retrospect, we probably should have eaten lunch really early because we had an early dinner reservation. 
But even though we were still full from our burger binge, we rode our trusty bikes along the water and hoped the burned calories would be enough to allow us to eat our hearts out at Filomena
Because if nothing else, birthdays are for an outlandish amount of calories. 

Filomena is one of my very favorite places in the DC area.
We first went when Dusty's parents were in town, the summer of 2012.
It's the gaudiest, most fabulous Italian restaurant in all the land.
Lucky for us, they were completely decked out for Halloween (when we were here that July of 2012, they were all decked out for the 4th). 

In the front window, there's a windowed room where a few lovely ladies are hand-rolling ravioli.
As you walk in the front door, you wave at them on the right, then continue down the steps into the dark and delightful restaurant.
Or shall I say, the dark and creepy (in the best way possible) restaurant.

We snatched a table at the back of the restaurant, and prepared ourselves for carb-loading.
Isn't this place fantastic?

Naturally, we ordered some ravioli because you can't not when those lovely ladies above us were hand-rolling them so lovingly and expertly. It would be a slap in the face to their art craft. To not order ravioli would be like not having ice cream in an ice cream shop. How crazy can you be? Grab a cone!

For my entree I had the Tortelloni Di Michele, which I would highly recommend to cure any disease of the tastebuds. It's not medically certified or anything, but you can tell them I sent you.

They won't know who I am, but at least I'll feel special.

They also brought out some flasks of some kind of ungodly substance (note: sambuca and amoretto) that you were supposed to drink as a sort of dessert swig -- I can tell you, it cleared my sinuses and I couldn't order a cappuccino fast enough.
Let's just say I wasn't made for liqueur.

After dinner, we meandered around Georgetown for a while longer, finally deciding that we had to visit Georgetown Cupcakes to complete our food tour of the day.

As always, the line was out the door and up the street, so we grabbed a menu and faithfully stood in line. Since the sun was down, it wasn't a big deal to wait outdoors!

We once did a cupcake wars outing in Georgetown with our friends, pitting Georgetown Cupcake against Sprinkles -- Sprinkles actually won, but when in Georgetown, eat like the Georgetownians do (plus there's a Sprinkles in Arizona, so you've gotta try new things). 

this pumpkin cupcake and i became instantly entangled in a great love affair.

Happy birthday to me!

BUT -- the day wasn't over yet.
We decided to head to a local theater to see the movie Austenland, which was only playing in select theaters (a total cinematic crime).
Becky had seen it a few times in Phoenix, and was dying to see it with me. I was equally eager to see it, so despite Dusty's protests (which quickly died down in the throes of our girlish fervor, and the fact that it was still my birthday) we headed off to the shopping center to see the movie!

Best decision ever. 

There were hardly any other patrons in the cushy theater seats, but everyone that was there was laughing their little tushies off. It was hilarious. Dusty was laughing, too, I might add -- a lot. And we had a blast.
Definitely one of my favorite movies of the year! And so underrated for its cleverness.
It comes out on DVD February 11th, and it's gonna be really hard for me to resist buying 100 copies to give out to everyone I know, as a gesture of true human decency.
If you haven't seen it, please do.

Sunday was a day for traveling back to Lynchburg, and relaxing.
Once we got back home, we were able to unwind. Becky left really early Monday morning, so we decided Sunday would be a chill day. We drove around a little bit downtown to take some pictures that afternoon.
One of the things on our Lynchburg bucket list was to take some pictures in front of a giant red LOVE sign there, so we took turns taking some BFF pictures of Becky and I, and some of Dusty and I as well.

We also just took some time to goof off.

We met our friends Colin and Victoria for dinner at Delicia's, which is one of our favorite local spots.
We sat out on the balcony and enjoyed the warm evening. I just loved being around some of my favorite friends. It was a very happy table to me.
We also had some great conversation -- at one point Colin told us the entire plot story of Breaking Bad.
Story time with Colin!
It was actually great, because none of us had really wanted to take the time to watch/invest ourselves in such a dramatic show like that -- so now we feel included, without all the stress and heartache. Win win.

Becky headed out the next morning, which always makes me immeasurably sad. Having that empty guest room glaring at me, all quiet and lonely.
But we had such a great time, and it was a gem of a trip, even with all the heat and the hiccups. Maybe that made it even better.
(Although I could have gone without the bike-riding, dress-wearing thigh sores).

I like to stretch out birthday celebrations as long as humanly possible, so we continued to celebrate that week, which included going to The Crown for wine parfaits. Tradition is tradition, after all.

2011 / 2013: first and last birthday parfaits in VA!

Colin and Victoria met us there for coffee and dessert, and I suppose I officially accepted it: I'm 25. 

It was an amazing birthday month, with so many more fun things to come.
It's currently February, so obviously I've been so busy living my 25th year that I haven't been able to keep up with my weekly blogs -- well, lookout, because here they come!
All the backlogs of 2013, and then some. I've gotta catch up so I can fully document our last few months in Virginia. Sigh.
What a glorious year to be alive!