Happy Valentine's Day, babes! Although this day gets a pretty bad rep for being a sappy, "Hallmark Holiday", I still look forward to it every year. February in particular has me embracing my feminine and sentimental side (if you couldn't tell from my inspiration board already), and Valentine's Day plays right into my more romantic mood. One of my goals since launching this blog has been to be transparent and open with my readers so, I try to share personal stories on here from time to time. Because I mention Sam and Oliver so often on the blog, It's no surprise that I've been asked to tell the story of how Sam and I met and I decided that Valentine's Day was as good a time as ever to finally share it.
During our drive to Sugarloaf Mountain a few weekends back, Sam and I somehow came to the realization that we had met 10 years ago this Spring. It felt crazy to us both. This epiphany got us onto the topic of how we first met in a Mexican restaurant when I was merely 13 years old. I love listening to stories of how two people first crossed paths. Every time that I am introduced to a new couple whether at a work function or through friends, it's the first question that pops into my mind. Everyone has a unique story, and listening to the giddy couple recalling the event from their own individual perspectives makes my heart flutter. I've always been a hopeless romantic. That's why, when people ask Sam and I how we met, we love to tell the unconventional story.
10 years ago this Spring, my older sister and I were relaxing at home after school. She had always been quite shy and didn't enjoy attending events by herself. So, when she remembered that her favorite Spanish teacher, Ms. Diaz, was hosting an extra credit lunch with her students at Plaza Girabaldi's in Millersville, she bribed me into coming along. At the time I was sporting brightly colored braces, horrendous DIY highlights, and a Hollister logo t-shirt. I was bold and very awkward looking.
We got to the restaurant and I snagged a seat at the end along with my sister, simply waiting for the lunch to be over already so that she would hold up her end of the bargain and take me to the mall. That's when Mr. Cool walked through the front of the restaurant, glided right up to our table, and introduced himself. 13 year old me was mesmerized. At that point in my life, I had never seen such a handsome, older boy. Looking back now, I can't recall a single detail of the rest of that lunch. I'm assuming this is because I was red-faced, flustered and planning out our fairy tale wedding together while repeating "Anna Hartman" in my mind. But, whether I knew it at that moment or not, that chance encounter would mark the beginning of something that would forever alter my adult life.
For the following 5 years, Sam and I had several random run-in's. From his best friend living down the street from me, to passing each other at high school parties, flirting occasionally when coming in contact, and even spending a few nights together eating pizza, lying on a trampoline, and watching every season of "The Wire" just the two of us when he lived in a bachelor pad. But, the timing never seemed to be quite right. We were at very different points in our lives and each of us had things going on that would cause us to lose touch or become distracted.
The year that I graduated from high school, my big plan was to go straight onto college at Salisbury, ECU, or somewhere in the South. I was desperate to pledge a sorority, attend all of the best parties, and marry rich later in life. It wasn't until I realized that I couldn't afford going to school out of state and was later deterred from Salisbury for a semester on top of that, that I felt all hope was lost in my college dreams. Looking back now, however, it truly was the best thing that could have happened to me.
Just a few weeks later out of the blue, I got a text message from Sam wishing me a happy Valentine's Day and asking me to have dinner with him later that week. I was very hesitant at first, almost rejecting him completely remembering the last time we had spoken. But, after reassuring myself that 1 date wouldn't kill me, I said yes. That Saturday, I painted my nails a pretty red, put on a classic LBD, and drove up to Baltimore (where we live now) and knocked on his front door. We opened a bottle of wine, sitting on his kitchen counter and caught up with each other's lives until we were starving for dinner.
Then, 5 years after meeting for the first time, we went on our very first formal dinner date at Miguel's, an upscale Mexican restaurant that was only 2 blocks from our current home. I talked and talked and talked through our date, more nervous than I had been in my entire life and absolutely terrified of an awkward pause. I told him about how I'd be leaving for my first semester at Salisbury in a little, how my sister was pregnant with her first child, that I always wanted to go skydiving and become a lawyer. I talked so long that we were practically the last ones in the restaurant by the time that we finally left, walking back to my car hand in hand. I'm not sure that either of us realized it that night at dinner but, from that moment on we would become inseparable. The timing had finally been perfect and we were not willing to let each other slip away like we had so many times before.
What is your story of how you met your partner? Share it with me in the comments or via Facebook.
I hope you all have a lovely Valentine's Day!
xo Anna Elizabeth
YAY. A long, romantic Valentine's weekend. What could be better? I practically cleared out the roses at Trader Joe's yesterday on my lunch break so that I could fill the house with some fresh flower arrangements. I'm really such a girly girl at heart and this "holiday" (if you will) gives me all the feels. Each year that Sam and I have spent Valentine's Day together have been so very different. From bringing me a 6-foot tall stuffed bear to my Salisbury dorm room to sleeping in his car together on a construction site for work, setting our smoke alarm off at 4am while baking homemade donuts, and turning our living room into a restaurant, it has been unpredictable, to say the least. Looking back on all of these memories already, I know that I'm going to be a sappy mess all weekend.
As if that didn't get me excited enough, I am doing my very first photo session for a lovely couple in Annapolis today with a Valentine's love theme. Think roses, balloons, cupcakes. It's right up my alley. The weather is calling for approximately 3 degrees and windy so... we will for sure be freezing our butts off but, I know that it will be worth it in the end.
That being said, tomorrow I will finally be able to hit the "pause" button and, although I'm going to be exhausted and probably sleep in much too late, Sam says that he has a nice surprise for me in the evening. I hope you all have something fun planned for this weekend as well! xo
This month on AEE : Homemade Coffee Facial Scrub / Weekend in Charlotte / Off to Charlotte... / February Feels (Inspiration) / Monday Musings: My Most Sentimental Piece of Jewelry
AEE elsewhere : Lauren Conrad's Chic of the Week - Winter Whites
Follow along via Instagram (@anna_elizabethevents), Facebook, and Pinterest to see what we're up to this weekend and get the first peek at new content coming to AEE.
Happy weekend and happy V-day!
xo Anna Elizabeth
Last week I spent some time in Charlotte, North Carolina celebrating my best friend and fellow blogger's birthday and exploring the beautiful city. We had such a lovely girls' weekend spent drinking champagne, dining at fancy restaurants, snacking on French pastries, and more (a full recap here). One of the things that Arielle and I love to do when we get together is make natural face masks or facial scrubs from ingredients lying around the house.
So, after a long, exciting morning exploring the city and indulging in sweets, we were on the look out for a facial that might make us look a little more awake than we actually felt since we were headed to dinner downtown later that night. We picked up some organic coffee grounds from the local Trader Joe's and used the eggs and essential oil she already had stocked in her kitchen. Making your own facials from home has some serious benefits: the materials are inexpensive and easily accessible and, best of all, you can throw one together in less than 5 minutes.
Not only do coffee grounds make for an easy exfoliation but, the caffeine in fresh grounds provides other skin benefits. Caffeine stimulates circulation, cleanses, firms, and tightens the skin all while giving you an instant energy boost! It's the perfect DIY beauty treatment after a late night or a busy weekend when you need to brighten your skin tone and erase those puffy eyes.
For a last minute Galentine's gift or birthday present, scoop some of this DIY facial scrub into miniature mason jars and decorate with chic, satin ribbon and a handwritten label to dress it up.
Materials: (makes 2-4 facial scrubs)
As you may have noticed, I spent this past weekend in Charlotte, North Carolina with my best friend and fellow blogger, Arielle, from EatingWithArielle. We did a ton of...eating. In short, each of our days revolved around where we could eat, drink, and explore next. I'm not sure that I've dined at restaurants, coffee shops, and cafes that much in one weekend in my entire life but, hey, I'm not complaining. Vacation calories don't count anyway, right?
Arielle and I had talked so many times about me flying to Charlotte to visit so, we figured her birthday weekend was as good a time as ever to make it happen! I was only in town from Friday morning to Sunday evening so, naturally, we tried to cram in as much fun and sight seeing as possible. I was surprised to find that Charlotte is a much more compact city in comparison to Baltimore than I had originally anticipated so, it made our trip that much easier in terms of transportation and time. Today, I've decided to do a full recap of my weekend in Charlotte including photos and details of places that Arielle and I visited and enjoyed most.
This post is fairly extensive so, if you do not have time or do not care to read it all, these are the most memorable spots we visited: Amelie's French Bakery & Cafe, Fahrenheit, Seven Street Market, Not Just Coffee, Halcyon Flavors from the Earth, Zada Janes Corner Cafe, Chopt, Central Coffee Co., and Fern Flavors From the Garden (vegetarian). If you are in the Charlotte area for a weekend, these are places that you definitely do not want to skip.
On Friday, I got into Charlotte around 12 noon after a rough morning in the airport almost missing my flight. Arielle took me straight home to meet her puppy and show me a tour of the dreamy apartment loft she lives in in the city. After taking Porter to the dog park and watching him roll around with the other dogs, we strolled over to Chopt to grab a pair of fresh salads and tea. It was so crowded inside but, I got the Palm Beach salad and immediately upon tasting it, decided that the wait had been worth it.
From there, we walked around the shopping center grabbing a second tea and coffee and relaxed at the house until our dinner reservations downtown at 6pm. By the time we got to Fahrenheit on the 21st floor of the Skye Condos, the sun was setting and we bee lined it to the outdoor patio to watch while overlooking the city. It was the perfect place to spend my first night in Charlotte. I asked the waiter to make me a Cosmo since they didn't have any martinis on the cocktail menu and Arielle ordered a lavender infused gin cocktail. Both of the drinks were phenomenal which set us up for even more incredible entrees to follow. I ordered the Seared Sea Scallops and Arielle got the Herb Encrusted Grouper. We both practically licked our plates clean and ended the night half-watching a cheesy, Netflix movie starring Sarah Jessica Parker and half social media stalking at home. #Typical
On Saturday, we woke up around 7am so that we could have a full day to explore and celebrate Arielle's 23rd birthday. We threw on our gym clothes and walked a few blocks over to the Seven Street Market to grab a pair of fancy espressos from a cute coffee spot called Not Just Coffee. While Arielle was grabbing her second espresso on our way out, I wandered over to a wine market (no surprise there) to pick out a pretty, pink bottle of bubbly to pop later on the roof deck.
A little later in the morning, we wandered over to the crowded Zada Janes Corner Cafe for brunch inside. I ordered the Booker T's East Side Hasher with an egg fritta and sweet potatoes which was incredibly decadent and flavorful (recommended).
After that, we grabbed our laptops and went to Amelie's French Bakery which was even more crowded, with a line circling the entire cafe and zero seats available. However, it was one of my favorite spots that we visited in Charlotte and decidedly very, very worth the wait. Even if we did sit at a wobbly table outside before scooping a seat in the center conference room. The decor is very eclectic, the crowd is friendly, and don't even get me started on the treats. While I downloaded pictures from my camera, typed away on my newest blog post, and filled up on mini desserts, Arielle and I made a plan for a DIY beauty facial to do before dinner.
Once we pried ourselves from the bakery (more difficult than one would imagine), we picked up a bag of coffee grounds at Trader Joe's and headed home to make and shoot a homemade coffee facial scrub for the blog (coming soon).
Before dinner on Saturday, we braved the cold to enjoy our first glass of champagne of the night on the main roof deck overlooking the city and clinking to Arielle's 23rd birthday. By the time we finally made it to dinner, 20 minutes late, we were surprised to find the restaurant hidden inside of an art museum downtown. The room was full of over-sized, carved oak tables and antler chandeliers. Halcyon Flavors From the Earth was the perfect place for an intimate birthday dinner. We ordered a spicy margarita, martini, and a hand-pulled mozzarella board to start. Since you guys know of my addiction to homemade gnocchi, it should come as no surprise that I ordered the only dish that had it listed. Both of our entrees were delicious and totally devoured.
On our way back to the car, we got impossibly lost in the wrong parking garage wobbling around in our heels up and down each floor before realizing our mistake. We ended the night lying in bed until 1am talking and laughing about mortifying, old fashion trends, lost loves, and forgotten friendships.
On Sunday, we slept in until 8am before stopping by Earth Fare, a healthy grocery store, to grab green pressed juice and some essential oils for me to test out. After that, we drove around admiring the beautiful streets and mansions near Queens University and I picked up a cup of hot, lemon chamomile tea from Central Coffee Co.
After relaxing on the couch with Porter for an hour or two, we went to a late brunch at Fern Flavors From the Garden, a vegetarian cafe. I ordered the Cast-Iron Baked Cinnamon Buns with Orange and Vanilla Bean Glaze (the best restaurant breakfast I've ever had by a mile) and Arielle got the Chickpea and Quinoa Benedict.
Before my flight at 8pm, we wandered up to the highest roof deck in her apartment complex and had another cup of coffee. Overlooking the city as the sun set just like we had on the first night I was in town was the perfect end to much needed girls' weekend.
Arielle and I did so much exploring and catching up in Charlotte that by the time I arrived home on the emptiest and dreamiest plane there ever was, I was exhausted and couldn't be happier to see my two love bugs. I spent all day Monday relaxing with Oliver on the couch, prepping a nice homemade meal for Sam, and making a list of all of the other places that I can't wait to visit and explore in the US this year
Have you visited Charlotte, NC recently? What was your experience while you were there? Share your recap with me in the comments below or via Facebook.
xo Anna Elizabeth
Remember my (not-so-distant) resolutions for 2016? One of them was to be more adventurous. Which is exactly why I decided to take a trip to visit my best friend in North Carolina this weekend to celebrate her 23rd birthday. Generally, when her and I stumble upon the topic of a "girls' weekend", I give her the whole spiel about how maybe next month or the following would be better. When I'll be less busy at work, have more spending money saved up, when plane tickets are less expensive, when Oliver needs me less, and so on. Next thing you know, I'm planning a trip for 3 years from now. We all do it. It's not that we don't want to take a little vacation but, we somehow always find an excuse to hold off for the moment. Well, not this time, folks. Not this year. I said that I was going to be more spontaneous and more adventurous and I'm sticking true to my word, even if it's only for a long weekend.
To give you a brief history on Arielle, the food blogger that I will be spending the weekend with, it's only fair that I revisit a time when we were simply a pair of awkward teenagers. The moment I met Arielle in algebra class during my sophomore year of high school, I knew we were in it for the long haul. With thick black eyeliner, a loose gray sweatsuit on, and sleeping her way through the duration of class, I knew she was a special one. For the rare moments that she was awake in that class, I wanted to talk to her and find out more. Why you such a bad ass? Where you come from girl? My typical conversation starters. Skip to less than 1 month after she moved from Florida to Maryland, when I had her already attending my birthday dinner with my closest friends.
After years of sticking by each other's side, countless booze-fueled nights stuffing our faces with banana bread on her kitchen counter, and a few too many tears wiped away as a result of broken hearts (mostly mine because, like I said, she's a bad ass), she is still my closest girlfriend to this day. Coincidentally, Arielle and I both fell in love with the world of blogging. Arielle launched her IG blog a little over 4 months ago, named "Eating with Arielle", which has grown phenomenally since and already inspired so many readers (including me!). Although our blogs are very different, it's extremely refreshing to be able to talk with someone every day that understands the many highs and lows experienced as a result of this industry (can we call it an "industry"? oh well). If anything, sharing the same passion has brought us that much closer together even though we're now physically several hundred miles apart.
That being said, I am taking a few days off from the blog to spend time this weekend doing lots of birthday and blog-related things. I'll be back on Monday morning with new posts and pictures. I hope you all have a fabulous weekend!
P.S. - Go Panthers!!! #superbowlbandwagon
What's in my weekender: laptop, Chia Bars, sunglasses, black boots, current read, Naked2 palette, travel iphone case, leather gloves
Looking at the images I've cataloged through the month of January, whether digital or in real life, I'm spotting a huge trend in what I am currently drawn toward. Right now, I'm feeling very inspired by pale pink, bold lettering, dramatic hair, and feminine party decor. February is setting up to be a great month with a ton of new projects and exciting trips planned and I'm ready to set the tone with a fabulous inspiration board.
Images: balloons, paper, hairstyle, lips, neon sign, tassel banner, magazine cover, paint, gown, cocktail
As you may have been able to tell from my "Most Embarrassing" post last month, I wouldn't have exactly labeled myself a "Style Guru" back in high school. Looking back now, can any of us, really? Probably not. Point is, when I was younger, I never invested my money (what little there was) in purchasing nice, quality jewelry for myself. Items lying in my jewelry box generally included fake gold earrings, trendy crystal necklaces, and the occasional "costume" ring. It's truly no surprise that I didn't own any sentimental pieces of jewelry until I met Sam.
I'm a sentimental person by nature. I still have old, torn notebooks from high school, the champagne cork from when I earned my first dollar with Anna Elizabeth Events, and every card or letter that Sam has ever given me. I even have the receipt from the first, real grocery trip we ever took together (only walking distance from where we live now). If that doesn't label me a sentimental person then, well, I don't know what would.
During our very first Christmas together, 5 years ago, Sam surprised me with the most beautiful blue Tiffany's box. Inside, I found a silver band with a small key hole in the middle and two diamonds on either end. We didn't have much money at the time so, I knew that he had spent essentially every cent he had to buy it. When he gave it to me sitting on our living room couch, he told me that it would serve as a promise ring; a promise that he would someday make me his wife.
I have worn it every day since he gave it to me, through every high and low of our relationship. Looking down at it on my finger and seeing the tiny scratches etched into each side, tells a story and reminds me of the day that he first placed it there. Although others may see no significance and think of it as just another accessory, it is undeniably the most sentimental piece of jewelry that I own.
What is the most sentimental piece of jewelry that you own? Share with me in the comments or via Facebook.
xo Anna Elizabeth
Welcome to Anna Elizabeth, my creative space for fashion, recipes, styling, tutorials, figuring out how to run a successful business... and all of the little moments in between!
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