What I like about VA

We’ve been going non-stop in Virginia so I haven’t had much time to sit down and write. Sorry about that. Our first trip is almost finished so I thought it would be good to share some highlights of our time here so far.

The weather has been beautiful, albeit very humid which is not a good look for me. On the upside, though, rain just dumps on you and then it’s gone which is a nice little cool down refresher amidst all this humidity. Except for the one night in Virginia Beach where we decided to eat at a place called Abbey Road (which had 101 Beers From Around the World on tap!). They were so sweet about allowing Baxter to dine with us on the patio (we had a hard time with that) and as we sat outside a huge storm moved through, dumping bucketloads of rain, and in true dinner and a show fashion: a sky full of lighting and surround sound thunder. It was amazing and luckily we had more than enough beers to sample while we waited it all out. My favorite was Legend Brown Ale brewed in Richmond. I’d recommend it if you’re a fan of Newcastle – it tastes of toasted nuts, caramel and molasses. Good stuff.

We’ve been driving a lot, in fact we’ve been up and down the state twice now. One thing that makes me smile is on the interstate you see signs that say “Church, turn right.” It’s nice to know you can pull in over for a prayer just as much as you can for fast food.

Because of all the wet weather, Virginia is full of lush green plants. We went for a great hike along the James River Park system one day and rock hopping the next at a really neat place nearby called Pony Pasture. The water flowed gently down stream, the rocks were large and flat so families and couples picked one to lay out a picnic, sunbathe, and listen to some tunes in between frolicking in the water. We had to keep Baxter on his leash because he likes to run (sometimes a little too far away) but he went crazy leaping from rock to rock, splashing around, biting some small rapids, and chasing ducks. We loved it.

Down in Virginia Beach we spent one day at the beach, sneaking Baxter on the sand as dogs aren’t allowed between Memorial Day and Labor Day (bummer). The water was warm and pleasant and Baxter, having discovered elusive and mysterious sand crabs only a few days earlier, went crazy digging in the sand and burying his own head in the holes he had just dug. So funny to watch! He still isn’t fond of swimming or waves but we carried him out there and he seemed to be getting more comfortable. Hopefully he’ll be better when we are in Havasu next. At night the boardwalk comes alive with really entertaining street performers and lively crowds. We learned the city of Virginia Beach pays performers so that visitors aren’t asked for tips or hassled by scam artists. It’s a very family-friendly destination and Baxter hammed it up getting lots of affection from passersby. Mumbles and I even met our east coast doppelgänger couple, complete with a girl version of Baxter!

We’ve spent a lot of time in Starbucks. And in the hotel lobby. Looking forward to being home and cooking fresh meals, sleeping in our own bed (let’s just say we bought new sheets to put on the bed in one hotel we stayed in), and celebrating the upcoming nuptials of three sets of friends this August as the Year of the Wedding continues, and the arrival of BFOTB’s precious little miss!

Hope you are enjoying some fun adventures too this summer!

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The Bachelorette recap, the final rose – Emily

It’s our first weekend in Virginia and we were a bit late coming back from playing with Baxter at Pony Pasture and I was sure we wouldn’t miss anything because they’d be recapping the whole season for 25 minutes but apparently Jef meeting the family took a whole 6 minutes at the start of the show…just when you think you can rely on Chris Harrison, he goes and gets divorced and you can’t count on his useless rehashing. Maybe he’s given up on love altogether. Sad story.

So we miss Jef meeting the ‘rents but catch it in time to learn Jef made a great impression. Ari fumbles through his first greeting, rambling a bit too much but winning them over gushing about Emily and bringing every rose she’s given him in a nice little box.  Aww…sweet

The first thing of importance this episode is Dad establishing that “you can’t love two people at the same time.”  I’m telling Mumbles I think Emily has an easy out because she can not pick either of them or pick both of them and walk away clean saying “I had to be careful because I have a daughter to think about and I can’t just rush into an engagement…” and the next thing we know Emily’s mom says the same thing and she proceeds to say it herself. Hmmm…

Emily says she’s stressed. Jef says he is not. He is sure and confident but he hasn’t met Ricki. And all Emily says about that is “it’s a big decision,” alluding that she’s even scared now just to introduce her to the two remaining guys. Jef can tell something is amiss and asks if Emily has confidence. She says yes. I say no. They sit in awkward silence and Emily says she wasn’t planning on introducing Ricki to anyone but because she feels so confident, she wants them to meet.  Who’s betting we’ll be hearing this same speech with Ari? Oh, everyone? Okay, cool.

Jef’s high five meet and greet with Ricki iclimactic inch a letdown. He wins her over and we know it when she asks her mom if Jef can come play in the pool. Aww. Emily says Jef exceeded her expectations and that he’d be the best father and the best husband.

“There’s a little bit of real life that’s happened in this whole situation.” -Jef (not putting enough emphasis on the “little”)

Jef and Emily’s last night together is sweet. There’s no big declaration or anything but they both seem happy and comfortable.

Jef buys a Curaçao coffee table book as his last grand gesture gift and I’m thinking “cool book, bro” until he shows her he’s drawn stick figures throughout the book. Better.

The morning after her date with Jef, Emily calls Chris over to chat. She explains that she feels split between the two and doesn’t know what to do. But then she says that spending time with Jef and Ricki together made her see that he’s the one and she didn’t even question what their life would be like because that was exactly what it would be.

Emily says she can’t sit with Ari all day without feeling awful because she’s positive it’s Jef so she needs to tell Ari that as much as she loves him, she loves someone else a little more.  See, Dad knows best!

Mumbles is asking me how this usually goes down and I explain that usually the Bachelor/Bachelorette waits until their #2 is teary eyed, all mushy and lovestruck, down on one knee ready to propose before breaking it to the poor sap that they are not “the one.” At this point, I regret some of my snarkiness about Emily if she actually shows some class and tells Ari the truth (and makes it last with Jef, because lets be real: this woman does not have a good track record, my friends).

“I’m getting engaged tomorrow.” -Ari, who is incorrect

“That moment when Emily looks in my eyes and can express how she feels is going to feel so good.” – Ari, again incorrect

Emily gets out of the SUV to meet Ari who’s completely oblivious and wrong about everything and she’s crying already. Yet she still kisses him and tells him she missed him! She sits him down and starts balling and squeaking, shaking her head. Ari is catching on even though she’s not speaking in full sentences. And instead of coming out and saying it she hesitates but its enough to let on that yesterday’s date with Jef tipped her scales the other way and so he tells her she doesn’t have to say it. Lets her off easy so she can continue crying, and then she looks at him hopefully like he’ll say something to make it all better. Ugh.

“I did for so long think it was going to be me and you.” -Emily, not helping

He realizes there’s nothing left to say, tells her as such, gives her a kiss on the cheek and says goodbye, thanking her for sparing him the embarrassment of tomorrow, and walks away. She runs after him, crying all the while, and he tells her she’s not going to get the “goodbye, good luck” she’s after. And appropriately so. I don’t think anyone expects him to give her that and I’d say he was more than a gentleman about it.  Fare thee well, Ari. In the words of the funny (but not PG movie) Old School (earmuffs/eyemuffs?) when Ari gets home, he’s “gonna get so much ass…like hot boy band ass.” True story.

“I still believe that she’s the love of my life which is what is so painful.” – Ari, heartbroken

Jef meets Neil Lane to pick out a fancy schmancy ring.  Me likely the pink gold ring Neil shows Jef. (you can disregard that, as I said that out loud as I wrote it so Mumbles could take note.)

“I love Emily but I don’t want to propose to Emily if she’s going to say no.” – Jef
“I’m not 100% sure I want to get engaged.” – Emily
“If Jef proposed, I’m not really sure that I’d be able to do it.” – Emily
“I’m not gonna be the girl that gets engaged 15 times before she gets married.” -Emily, who seems like she’s on her way there

Does anyone else think their proposal stage is in an odd spot? In the middle of a random hotel/motel/village…?

And then the rehearsed speeches:

“You really are everything that I’ve looked for for so long. You really are my soul mate…I love you so so much. So much.” -Emily

“I feel like the luckiest man in the world… I think God puts the right people in our lives when the timing is just right, and I feel that with us, I feel like the timing is just right….I am so grateful that you tried one more time [for love] because I found my everything, and I’m so in love with you and I promise you, Emily, that if you let me into your life and into Ricki’s life that you’ll never be lonely again. I love you, Emily…” -Jef
(Mumbles thinks Jef’s notes were written on his hand.)

“What I’m about to ask you aren’t just empty words…what I’m about to ask you is a forever thing…Emily, will you marry me?” -Jef, on bended knee

“Yes.” -Emily, after a lot of hesitation and then really the most unromantic thing that could ever be said after a proposal and some kissing: “we’re gonna make it work.” Totally ruined it, lady!

After the engagement, Ricki comes running in (in a dress not nearly as formal as the occasion called for)…and Emily says “hey, Ricki” and then the three of them just walk off together (not nearly as informational as the situation called for)…no “this is my boyfriend”…or “hey, Jef just asked me to marry him and I said yes…” or “hey, Ricki, remember Jef from two days ago?” Poor kid.

After the Final Rose:

  • Emily gushes about Jef and her new sparkly diamond when she comes out to meet Chris.
  • Ari is there and he says watching the show really helped to understand everything. He was completely taken by surprise because physical attraction aside, he felt like they had great conversations and had a future planned.
  • Side note: What’s up with the big crease and bump in the midsection of her hair?
  • Ari says he got home and knew he couldn’t be himself around his friends and about the town without letting on that he was heartbroken so he flew to Charlotte to see Emily to either get closure or get a new start. He says he got there but thought better of it (after you paid and flew there…really?) because he respects Jef and respects Ricki…so instead he just called her (presumably like a creepster from an SUV with tinted windows parked across the street from her house) and left his journal at her house for her to read. But she didn’t read it. Because she respects him. Oh, geez. Ari thought when she read the journal she would know he was genuine and how he really felt about her. But she didn’t.

“Had Jef not been there, it would be me and Ari sitting here, so happy.” – Emily, not helping Ari feel good about being friends with Jef

  • Ari is happy for Emily and Jef. He says he’s doing good but I don’t quite believe him.  Ari said he talks to Jef on the phone, which he admits is kinda crazy but it helped him to understand how happy they are.

And the man of the hour himself arrives:
“We are happy and in love.” – Jef, with a smile
On the awkward amount of time it took Emily to respond to Jef’s proposal? (Chris timed it: Emily made him wait 10 seconds. That’s a long time.): “I don’t know…but I was scared and I don’t want to be the girl that gets engaged a bunch of times and never gets married.” – Emily, who, let’s be honest, just really loved that sparkly ring.

Heres the scoop: Jef is moving to Charlotte so they don’t have to uproot Ricki and it makes sense because he can work from anywhere (but she doesn’t work at all so it would probably make even more sense and really show her commitment to “making this work” if she just moved to Utah, right?), they are already planning a wedding, they want it to be in Charleston, maybe in the spring but she doesn’t want to say when because she doesn’t want to be held to it. Well, good luck with that. I’m not so confident we’ll be watching your ABC special next year.

It’s been a good season, my friends, wouldn’t you say? Are you happy with Emily’s choice and with Jef’s decision to propose? Think we’ll see a wedding next year?

If you’re a Bachelor Pad viewer, have fun with that hot mess of shenanigans. As you may have read, Mumbles, Baxter and I are temporarily in Virginia for work so I hope you’ll stick with me while I share about our life here on the east coast.  Thanks for your continued support and encouragement. See you next season!

Virginia is for Lovers List

In less than a week, we’ll be on a plane and I’m certainly hoping we’ll have time for exploring and experiencing what the east coast has to offer during our next few months in Virginia. I hear that early fall is a beautiful time to be there (and not too crazy temperature wise, which is important for me and the sanity of my curly tresses) so I’ve started doing some research on towns, exhibits, museums, and things to do while we’re there in between all the working and planning and training.  If you have any must-see or -do’s to add to our list, please let me know!

  1. Tour George Washington’s plantation estate, Mt. Vernon.
  2. Explore the Smithsonian Museum(s).
  3. Dip our toes in the Atlantic while sunbathing in Virginia Beach.
  4. Watch Dark Knight Rises in IMAX at the Virginia Aquarium and Marine Science Center.
  5. Catch some Civil War Battle Reenactments a la Gilmore Girls! (did you know more battles took place in Virginia during the Civil War than in any other state? you do now!).
  6. Sip and Savor Virginia’s best wines — we’ll have more than 200 wineries and breweries to choose from, plus a winery you can kayak to…how fun!
  7. Delight in the magnificent architecture and history of Colonial Williamsburg.
  8. Celebrate the Heritage Harvest Festival at Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello.  (did you know Thomas Jefferson was America’s first “foodie?” me either!)
  9. Take in the scenic views of the Blue Ridge Mountains on the Blue Ridge Parkway – supposedly America’s favorite drive!  🙂
  10. Walk the grounds of the first English settlement in Jamestowne.
  11. Stay at the Colonial Williamsburg Resort, celebrating 75 years of southern hospitality!
  12. Take a drive to feast on crab in Maryland (yum! might have to do that more than once!).

We’re moving! (kind of)

“There is more security in the adventurous and exciting, for in movement there is life, and in change there is power.” 
– Alan Cohen

I’m a southern California girl and there’s no way I could ever live anywhere else. In fact, Mumbles and I feel pretty restricted into northern OC territory where we’ve decided a la goldilocks and the three bears that the temperature is just right – hot enough to be warm, breezy enough to open up the windows and eat outside, and not so cold at night like it gets at the beach. Plus, our family and friends are here and close by and we like to live where we play.  Play and living aside, there’s also work to consider and all the hard work Mumbles and his business partners have put in these past few years are really showing in the strength of their company, a growing employee workforce and more clients and work to do. All of this which brings us to Virginia.

Virginia is a big, important state for the company, Quest (very fitting, yes?), and so we’ll be heading there for a few months to set up shop on the easy coast. (!)  I put in my notice at work (!) and we’ll be leaving soon. (!) Real soon. But to all my SoCal friends, not to fret! We’ll be back every few weeks as this 2012 seems to be the Year of the Wedding and plus, BFOTBM’s little baby Harper is set to make her arrival here sometime late next month (shower details and photos to come soon…promise!) and I just can’t wait to snuggle with her when she graces us with her presence. It’s an exciting time for us and what an adventure it will be. I’m sad to be leaving the work that I’m doing–because I’m not sure if it’s the same for you but I feel my identity is quite entwined with the work that I do–but I’m eager to experience all that awaits and share it with you here on the blog. Thanks, as always, for reading and for your support and encouragement.

Cheers to new adventures!