The “During” Stage of Life

{House} facelifts don’t just happen.  But weren’t those “After” pictures nice?  Working on the house has been consuming our weekends and weeknights for awhile now.  I wanted to be sure to document the people doing the “during” work, not just the “after” pictures.  Because one day we’ll be able to just enjoy our house and our weekends, and I don’t want to take that for granted.



We have had some incredible help from our family and friends.  Look at this sooty fireplace.IMG_5416

My family visited for a weekend at the Shore, but cold, rainy weather turned it into a work weekend!  Hi Megan!  Poor girl got roped into re-painting our fireplace.IMG_5172

And it looks so much better!IMG_4317

Mom helped me weed.  ALL the weeds.  They are the absolute bane of my existence.IMG_5178

Dad and Scott replaced rotted boards on the deck. IMG_5175IMG_5174 IMG_5179

And then Scott and his dad re-stained the whole thing.  It’s a BIG deck.IMG_5232IMG_5245

We also painted our 2 downstairs bedrooms.  Somehow we talked our friends, Todd and Allie, into helping us.  IMG_5235

You go to bed thanking Jesus for that sort of blessing.IMG_5238 IMG_5239

And when it’s all done – or feels like it won’t end – I employ my good friend, tequila.IMG_5217We have one more weekend of housework to push through.  Send good thoughts, prayers and maybe tequila!

Fitzgerald Fourth of July

We had a Fourth of July full of family and friends. And alliteration.  The whole big Fitzgerald clan was in town for our annual summer get-together.IMG_5249

We were blessed with a gorgeous beach day on Friday (and a day off of work! even better!)IMG_5256

We are lucky to see our nieces and nephews as often as we do, despite the distance.


July 3rd is a big day in the family so we had a celebratory dinner out.  We celebrated 11 years of marriage for Mark and Steph.  I hate that I didn’t know them when they got married!  I would have loved to be there.


And Millie’s birthday!  I believe it was your 29th, right, Mil?IMG_5258

The Fourth wasn’t beach weather (insert sad faces here).  But Uncle Scott still got some good ol’ fashioned American football time in with Liam.   IMG_5275

Liam picked up the football after breakfast and said, “Who wants to play football with me?”  I think Scott walked away from me mid-sentence.


He’s not even four years old! Look at him go.  Scott was so proud he nearly burst.IMG_5269

We spent the afternoon at the track.  It’s outside, you can bring your own food/drink and the kids can run around.  I highly recommend it.


Winning ticket, y’all!


We ended the weekend with a huge cookout.  There was limbo, a pinata and a dance party.  IMG_5316


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And my favorite – SPARKLERS!  Most of the kids were in bed so I asked the adults to humor me.  While I was spinning and dancing, I turned around to see this.  A line of people standing.  Just standing!  IMG_5356

Oh well.  Not everyone can have my flair! 🙂

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A big thank you to our family for making the trek to Jersey and making our Fourth festive!


Blush and Champagne

Two weeks ago, Scott and I were in VEGAS, BABY for Maria’s wedding!  We took a 5:30 am flight.  From Philadelphia.  We left our house at 3:00 am. I couldn’t talk about it leading up to it.  My father-in-law is an eminently helpful individual and would bring it up to talk through the logistics and details.  Scott would just nod, “Yes, that’s right, 5:30.  Yep, from Philly.  Yes, we figured out the parking.”  I would just walk in the other direction.  Not trying to be rude, but it was just my coping mechanism with that hour of the morning!  Here I am on flight #2, post-make up-application.

The flight into Vegas was a PARTY!IMG_4520

We stayed at The Venetian and after checking in, headed straight to the pool party at TAO.  This is so far from my realm of comfort.


But it was a great way to get the wedding guests together in a Vegas atmosphere before everything started.

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We roomed with our new friends, Allie and Todd.  Allie is a fellow bridesmaid (thats how we met) and fellow Hokie.  She lives in the next town (coincidence!) and we decided we must be travel partners throughout all the Miami and Vegas travel for the wedding.IMG_4540

We introduced the husbands once before spending 3 nights in one room together.  It went well, but we couldn’t predict just how smashingly they ended up getting along.  Todd came into the room and casually said, “I brought American Flag bandanas.”  The room went dead silent.  And that was when I knew, everything was going to be just fine.IMG_4533After a 2:30 am wake up call and an afternoon in the sun with cocktails, all we could manage for dinner was burgers.  They were amazing – definitely try I Heart Burgers if you can.  They also had great orange crushes/margaritas.  Cause it’s Vegas.  This is a Seoul burger (with Kimchi and a fried egg).

And then we went to bed at 8:30. IMG_4549

The next day was nails and rehearsing for the girls and golf, gambling and celebrity-sighting for the boys.  Isn’t the day before your wedding such a surreal time?  It was fun to spend some quick quiet time with Maria.IMG_4560 IMG_4563

Josh came in during our photo shoot and well, grooms need love, too.


The fabulous foursome snuck in a little time at the sports bar in the casino.  Did I mention that the Kentucky Derby AND the Mayweather fight were both that weekend?  In the biggest gambling city in the world?


It was a show.IMG_4569

The girls were so busy with wedding stuff, that we barely got any Vegas time. So we really enjoyed our stroll to and from the rehearsal dinner down the strip.IMG_4574IMG_4577

The desert sunset was just beautiful.  And Las Vegas is really just a playground for adults.IMG_4582

This is becoming gratuitous, but humor me.  We were dressed up and had places to go!IMG_4847IMG_4841IMG_4614IMG_4635

Oh my word, the Bellagio fountains! I was in love.  We stayed for 3 shows.  IMG_4634

Hats off to the designers/choreographers.  IMG_4640

They had classic Vegas-Sinatra, Big Band and the Grand Finale was Whitney Houston singing the National Anthem. We loved it and talked about it for the rest of the weekend.  There may have been fountain-inspired dance moves at the wedding… IMG_4622

Now! The reason for the weekend!  Would you just LOOK at that champagne and blush perfection?


Our bridesmaid gift was this adorable PJ set.IMG_4666

I love it and can see no reason to not always have adorable sleeping outfits. IMG_4660

Here is our beautiful bride!  We had a nice, leisurely time getting ready.  And in true Maria and Rebecca fashion, the two of us wound up hidden from the make up artists fixing our make up, while having a giggle fit.  Don’t stand between us and eyeliner and bronzer, mmkay?

Maria was a beautiful bride, inside and out.  I can’t say enough.  My iPhone photos don’t do it justice.IMG_4678

The day was just perfect, as was the venue.

IMG_4852IMG_4843These handsome gents were there waiting for us.  We couldn’t have asked for a better support team.


The beautiful bride.  (She had a GoPro in her bouquet – brilliant!)IMG_4854

It was a very emotional, beautiful ceremony.  As you can tell by the bridesmaid caught mid-tear brush (that would be moi). IMG_4735

I always try to soak up the messages at weddings, because it makes you treasure your own marriage.


Speaking of marriage – I wore my wedding shoes again and it was GLORIOUS. IMG_4719


I promise, we talked to other people!  There were some dear lifelong friends there and I soaked up every minute of it.IMG_4734

Patrick is the closest thing to a brother I had growing up.  It warms my heart that we are such good friends with each other’s spouses.  Jenny and I talked throughout the whole dang dinner.  And forget about small talk, this was heart-spilling stuff.  And Patrick basically tackled Scott when ‘Enter Sandman’ was played at the end of the night.  My heart could explode from the happiness. IMG_4691

Why didn’t I play Enter Sandman at my wedding? Can I even call myself a Hokie?IMG_4726


Maria had some lovely details.  IMG_4702

I can’t get over the cocktail napkins…Maria loves Josh more.  Are you serious right now with the cuteness!?IMG_4706

Dear friends, old and new.

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The cool thing about sharing a middle school & high school with Maria?  Getting to reconnect with your best friend from 7th grade. And marveling that she married a kid you met in kindergarten. And remembering why you got along so well all those years ago.  Hi Thanh and Randy!


Basically, what I’m trying to say is that we had a good time, to put it mildly.IMG_4721

The Strip by night.  IMG_4720It was a wonderful wedding and I’m glad to have shared in Maria and Josh’s special day.


Best wishes, y’all!  LOVE you!

A Love Letter to Maria

I meant to post this last week.  But then I had to whisk away to Vegas, take 2 days off work and you know, still get all of my work done.  So posting about my friend Maria BEFORE she got married did not happen.  But I still wanted to post this little love letter to her anyways.  And then post all of the pink and sparkly pictures from her wedding next week!

Maria and I went to the same middle school, high school AND college (Go Hokies!).  But we had to go all the way to France to become friends.  We were both Hospitality majors and were mentored by the same fabulous man, Pierre.  We were some of his “shining stars.”  So when he organized a trip post-graduation to the South of France, we both jumped on it.  At one of the planning sessions, Maria approached me and said a shy hello.  And then we ran into each other at the airport where Maria and her mom were frantically unpacking Maria’s {overweight} luggage.  She stored her hot rollers and comforter in my luggage and the rest is history!

10400681_600286334273_5542_nWe roomed together across St. Tropez, Cannes, Nice and Antibes.


10400681_600286464013_2669_nWe discovered a love of walking up and down docks admiring boats and yachts.  We each even found the boats named after us.

The Silly Goose.

1923885_601013676673_6066_nAnd the Lazy Princess.


We ate our weight in olive tapenade, cheese, bread, pizza and more pizza (there is a large Italian influence on the food in the South of France, being so close to Italy.  We embraced it.)10400681_600286518903_5468_nAnd gelato, of course!!


Our routine was to each get a cone with two scoops of different flavors.  We would then switch cones half way through as we strolled/power walked along the coast for hours.


We enjoyed the sweet, leisurely way of life in France. We watched old men play bocce ball, we read, laid in the sun, went to the market daily to make the world’s BEST salads for dinner.  1923885_601013886253_4935_n

We shared life stories, our dreams for the future and talked about the men we would both eventually marry.  I was there when Maria told her now husband she loved him over Skype, only to have the connection short out directly after.  That is what lasting friendships are made of, people.  At the end of the trip, we gave ourselves the title, “Best Couple.”  And we were 🙂


Back stateside, we supported each other through good and bad jobs, moves, new pets and continued to power walk whenever possible.  She taught me the ways of bronzer when my French tan faded.  She taught me it was ok to wear olive green instead of pink, black or white.  I taught her the reverse.  She lets me borrow her clothes at the drop of a hat.  And no one can talk hospitality and service like we can.

When I got married, Maria stood up beside me and was so sweet and supportive through every shower, bachelorette party and little detail. It was even her idea for my hot pink cocktail dress with the rest of the girls in black.  Love.


She made the trek to Newport, didn’t complain about the windy weather and even let our friend Billy throw her bouquet.   Reception 6

She and Josh visited us in New York and I have such good memories of that trip.  IMG_2101

Still best couple.IMG_2120

And then it was my turn to shower her with pink and sparkle at her bridal shower (she really took to my pink lessons well!), wear sparkly temporary tattoos at her bachelorette and stand up beside her at her wedding.   IMG_4260I love you, Maria!

Your Hair Looks Like an Easter Egg!

That quote has nothing to do with anything, besides Easter.  I just love Grease.

Since we have a rather early Easter this year, I took a look back at our first Easter in our house.  I never shared anything here about the first big holiday we hosted for MY side of the family at the house.  It was a really nice weekend with my parents, my sister, her boyfriend and some Fitzgeralds and friends peppered in for good measure.

First off, food.  There was much and it was good.  My sister’s favorite blueberry muffins are always a hit.  They are super time-intensive but oh, so worth it.



We had to get fresh bagels for our NJ visitors.  We tried a new place and I’m a fan of the proximity to our house and the fact that the gentlemen behind the counter gave me a 13th bagel for luck (Baker’s dozen? Yes, please.).

Barefoot Contessa Greek Panzanella. You must do this, immediately.Easter20

I loved having the whole family in the house. We are always very low key when we are together and this weekend was no different.  The boys golfed, the women lunched, shopped and walked on the beach.


Our lunch view.


Have I mentioned I love where we live?


When the boys returned, much more sunburned than when they left, we grilled and played games.  Every time we have a full house, I feel so blessed that we have this house that fits our family comfortably and that we are able to host.


My family is big on games and we brought our friends in on the tradition.  Heads Up is our new favorite, mixed in with old favorites like Cranium.


We also dyed eggs.  It’s an Easter tradition!Easter18

I don’t think Justin was ready for the intensity of dying eggs with the Burtch family.



And then we satisfied man’s desire to build things and burn things.  We now have a make shift fire pit as a place holder until we can get a real one.Easter17

On Easter Sunday we went to church and then had to get down to business.  The business of football.Easter14


And my preferred business.  Cooking.Easter13

Our feast included ham, Ms. Leslie’s green beans and “Rebecca’s potatoes” (and lots of bread, of course).  You know you’ve made it in our family if you have a side dish named after you.


And then. You must know about this.  The Annual Easter Egg Roll.  It’s a tradition in my family since before I was born.  Basically, you choose your best, most favorite hard-boiled, dyed Easter egg.  This should be done during the egg dying process.  Mine is always a shocking shade of pink.


Then, you pair up, oldest against youngest, get down on the floor and roll your eggs across the floor at each other.  The goal is for them to crash into each other.  Only one will break!  I promise! Try it, you won’t be disappointed.Easter8

The winner from each round advances to the next round, and so on and so on.Easter6

There will be losers.

And one ultimate winner.  Bragging rights included.Easter9Happy Easter, everyone!

Descending on Blacksburg

In November some far-flung Hokies converged on Blacksburg from Jersey, Philly, Maryland and Northern Virginia.


For Scott and I, this was our first trek to Blacksburg from The Jersey.  I’m rethinking my firm stance on all of our future children being automatic, no-choice-about-it Hokies, because the drive took for-e-ver.  Sniffle and tear.

But it was totally worth it to be back, oh my word!  Pretty Blue Ridge.


We fit as much as we could into our weekend.  The first stop was obviously Cabo Fish Taco followed by a trip to the bookstore to buy even more Hokie gear.  You can never have enough.  The benefit of not being in college anymore is that you can afford to buy not only T-shirts nowadays, you can buy new tailgate chairs.  Or an “infrastructure” purchase.  Score.

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We couldn’t fit in every favorite bar and restaurant, sadly.

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But we did our best to pretend we were still in college, complete with dancing and shenanigans.

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Seriously, Jessie Lynn and Lauren, how many pictures like this do we have from college?  It makes my heart 5

On Saturday, we were up and out for tailgating.  This was my mimosa, plus an uninvited ingredient.

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Besides leaf-flavored mimosas, there was much bourbon, fried chicken and biscuits.  What more could you want on a rainy, chilly game day?

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The traditional group photo (same positioning, always) with Lee Family Scarves compliments of Lauren’s momma.  We are lucky to have these friends.

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Lane Stadium, you pretty lady.

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Lets Go!

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From Enter Sandman to frozen toes, there was so much goodness.

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Sadly, our beloved Hokies were not victorious. We drowned our sorrows in gumbo and jambalaya at Boudreaux’s and parked it at Champs for tunes, Hokie football trivia and dancing.  The weekend was definitely a success.   photo(5)

Which game are we going to next year, friends?photo 1(1)