One Year Ago Today…..

April 26, 2010

I now pronounce you....

One year ago today, at Cloghan Castle in Kilcreest, County Galway, Republic of Ireland, Jay and I were married! Thanks so much to all of our family and friends who traveled over for the festivities. We have such wonderful memories and hope everyone else does as well. Everything just went perfectly (thanks to our wedding planner-Kate Deegan, Bernie and Joe with Cloghan Castle, Father Joseph Ryan, Mike Mulcaire, and many more) It rained on that day and I hear there is a chance it will rain today in Galway (imagine that….rain in Ireland ) It certainly didn’t dampen our spirits in the least.

Rainy Wedding Day

Mr. and Mrs. Ridgeway

So, today is our first anniversary, which I believe entitles us to a gift of “paper” according to all of those anniversary gift lists. I think that most likely means a card, though I did pause to ponder whether money could be considered paper….Hmmm…… Jay and I have agreed to forego getting presents for each other and to instead pick out something together for both of us. Thomas Moser catalogues are in heavy rotation here recently. We LOVE nearly all of his stuff, but it is a bit of an investment. No decisions made by us so far on that front.

Thomas Moser Vita Bed

Kinesis Chair

So, what are we going to do to celebrate? We had really hoped to be back in Ireland today at the Ice House Hotel, where we spent our honeymoon. To this day it is my favourite hotel (with the Standard in NYC  holding second place).We only spent three nights there and it wasn’t nearly enough time. The rooms are stunning, the food  both in the restaurant and the bar is stellar, the spa so amazingly luxurious and customer service is impeccable.

Ice House Bedroom

Soaking Tub

View from Suite

Unfortunately, circumstances conspired against us-Mistletoe cat is sick and can’t be left for over a day, further complications become obvious when one reads our previous post-DC Renovation 2- For these reasons, Jay and I are hoping to postpone our anniversary trip for now and try to take a big vacation in September-most likely to Ireland (Ice House here we come!!!) but the Amalfi Coast in Italy is also receiving quite a bit of attention lately. Jay and I did have a lot of fun the other day looking for castles/ruins to buy in Ireland. I would love to be able to spend 1/2 the year there and 1/2 the year here. I did find that there is a castle for sale, Strongfort Castle,  just a short distance away from Cloghan Castle, where we were married, that was built by the same family, The Burkes, in the 1400′s.

Strongfort Castle

We also found an old monastery near Ballinlough, County Roscommon…….

The Old Monastery

and if we win the lottery, there is Seamark in Glandore, County Cork!

Seamark Estate

Hey, a little daydreaming never hurt anyone. I’ll have to write another whole blog on cool properties in Ireland that I’ve drooled over. So, back to the original topic-how will we spend our 1st Anniversary? Well, we know there will be champagne-Veuve Clicquot to be specific-as if there were any other, and cupcakes. We might venture out for a nice dinner, though have not decided where we will go. We did manage to drag that top bit of our wedding cake all around Ireland with us and back to Virginia. It has been residing in the freezer since, until I took it out to thaw yesterday. From what I understand, we’re to eat a piece of it on our first anniversary. I’m not sure why. I think it is supposed to bestow luck. Perhaps it is a Darwinesque-survival of the fittest- test. I’ll have to let you know how that goes. Lets just say I’m glad we’ll have some cupcakes around as a back up!

Pristine Cake-One Year Ago

The state of the cake today. Gimlet is willing to give it a go!

As we were reminiscing about the day and looking over all of the great photos, it occurred to me that although I had promised in blogs past to post the photos from the professional photographer, Mike Mulcaire, I never got around to it. Mike is such a fantastic photographer, it was hard to choose from the literally hundreds of photos he sent along to us. Nevertheless, along with the few pics I’ve included in this blog, you can check out the rest of our favourite photos that he took on my gallery.

I guess we’ve come to the conclusion that we are so incredibly lucky. We not only had a wonderful wedding but have also had a fantastic first year of  our marriage now, finding us both happier than we’ve ever been. We are looking forward to many more years together. Well, gotta go now….there is champagne to be had!

Cheers!


DC Renovation 2 Electric Boogaloo

April 18, 2010

**Disclaimer:Jay solely responsible for this blog title-you’ll have to ask him**

The end of March and most of April has been taken up doing yet another renovation. I assure you we were not very happy to hear this needed to be done. To remind everyone, back in August we had just started a MAJOR renovation on the top floor apartment in our Capitol Hill building when our friend John sold his condo, which was great, but it rendered him homeless. We had been wanting to re-do our basement bedroom and bathroom, which were at the time decorated in a stunning “under a bridge” them, complete with spray paint, only missing a troll. The reality that John needed a place to stay spurred us into action and we took on that renovation project- on an accelerated schedule nonetheless!. It was pretty grueling, not only in the financial sense but as anyone who has ever had their house wrecked in the process of the improvement and had to manage various contractors and vendors, knows how mentally and emotionally draining it can be. Even though we are now six months down the road, I was in NO WAY ready to do another reno project. However, as it often works out, we had no choice. Our wonderful tenant who had lived in the basement apartment for six years was moving out. The basement apartment was the first renovation I had done after I bought the house in 2004. I was able to improve it quite a bit from what it was at the time, but being limited in money and experience, I did not do a great job. Sooo…..off we went… again!

All that being said, this renovation went very smoothly. Our friend Brian Stansberry was kind enough to take a look at the place and advise us on how to proceed with the renovation. Brian owns Capitol Hill Stay and has had LOTS of experience with renovating these units. All of his advice was stellar. We are truly indebted to him. We worked with an awesome contractor, Jhonny Claure. Jhonny was the contractor who did the fabulous work at our friend John’s house on Arkansas Ave.

Jhonny's gorgeous tile work at Arkansas Ave.

I would not hesitate to recommend him whole-heartedly to anyone looking to have work done. He focused on quality and did everything right the first time- never took shortcuts or “cheaped out”. He was really a pleasure to work with. The folks at Panda Kitchens were great as well. They installed that whole kitchen in one day. There were some glitches along the way-if you look under carpet and see 9×9 tiles-YIKES-its asbestos! In came the guys in the space suits and I am happy to report we are 100% asbestos free. The apartment is now complete and we are very pleased with the results. Now we’ve just got to get it rented! Wish us luck. Check out the apartment’s website for more pictures and a virtual tour! Here are a couple before and after pics.

Kitchen Before

Kitchen After

Washer/Dryer Pantry Before

Washer/Dryer Pantry After

Kitchen Sink Before

Kitchen Sink After

Living Room Before

Living Room After


Happy Easter!

April 5, 2010

I know most of you were hiding eggs and eating lots of yummy candy. I decided to dress my cats up as bunnies in honor of the holiday. Arwen, generally being a pretty good sport, took to it fairly well. Mistletoe….well…..I’ll let you decide what she is actually thinking in the photo below, but I don’t think it was “Happy Easter” :

Once I finished tormenting my cats, Jay, his parents, John and I went to Ireland’s Four Provinces in Falls Church for their Easter Brunch. It was really fantastic! I loved the scones with strawberries and fresh cream. Jay’s favorite may have been the macaroni and cheese. They really had so many yummy things it was hard to choose. They actually have a brunch every weekend. Its not as elaborate as the Easter brunch, though nearly -so check it out if you get a chance.


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