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Posted on Nov 7, 2011 in Dear Diary, Food | 21 comments

I’ve Got (New) Friends in All the Right Places

Happy Monday, folks! Time to attempt to recap the second part of my wine-filled Saturday. Part one’s photo explosion was posted last night in order to avoid giving you all seizures from too many photos, and included visiting two delightful vineyards with Jen & the BroLo.

Gazebo 2Love

After sobering up from my vineyard adventures, I headed off to meet blog reader Kari for dinner. She was visiting her friends in DC and very sweetly extended an invitation to dinner, as well to enjoy cupcakes, games, and more wine at her friend’s house afterward! I couldn’t turn down an opportunity to continue my wine diet, so off I went!

Kari
Hi Kari!

I met up with a big group of new-to-me friends at Landini Brothers, a fancy Italian restaurant in Old Town Alexandria.

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I knew from looking at the menu beforehand that it was going to be an expensive meal, but I don’t know if I was completely prepared for how much dough I was going to be dropping that night, haha. It just all happened so fast! Between there being a little confusion over the wine that was ordered for the table, the automatically included gratuity, and my failure to ask for the prices of the specials, I ended up with a $60 dinner bill. Urk. (budget? What budget?)

At any rate, the food did taste good, at least! I started with a small caesar salad:

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And followed it with the salmon special of the evening:

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Now, my salmon was cooked perfectly, and overall the food was very good. But I’m sorry, for $29.95 I really feel like I should be receiving more than FOUR FINGERLING POTATOES. I was satisfied with my portion from a stomach-size perspective, but considering how incredibly expensive the food was, I think there should have been more going on. If not by providing more food, then at least drizzle a little reduction-of-something on my plate to jazz it up, y’know? Ah well. The dinner conversation was perhaps a little more brazen than these delicate ears (HA!) are accustomed to hearing, but overall it was really fun to get to broaden my social horizons and distract myself from real life. And the night was only half over after dinner! (Well, to be fair, another quarter of the night went to figuring out how to split the bill, hahahaha.)

Pour me a glass
Golden Girls

Next on the docket was the aforementioned cupcakes, wine, and games! Morgan and her husband Zachary were kind enough to invite me, a total stranger, into their home, hahaha. They have the most adorable little cats!

Grrr.I can has killz you?
Er… who look like they want to kill me here. Hahaha.

They also have the niftiest wine bottle opener. I was a little intimidated at first, but seriously, it made shucking out that cork the easiest thing ever. If this newfound need appreciation for wine continues, I may just have to pick one these puppies up!

Nifty!Noms

And the cupcakes. OH THE CUPCAKES.

Cupcake Extravaganza!

They were NOT kidding when they said they had a spread! They had cupcakes from Red Velvet, Crumbs, and… somewhere in Alexandria. I forget the name, whoops. But they were all delicious!

Coconutty

For clarification’s sake, we didn’t eat ALL the cupcakes. I had one full lemon coconut (!!) one, and then slices of the red velvet and carrot cake ones. Nommmm. After we had our sugar buzz on, we played a new-to-me Charades-like game called “Celebrity”.

MorganMeera
Morgan & Meera in the zone.

The game goes like this: everyone writes something down on slips of paper. This can be literally anything: celebrities places, events, topics, phrases, or just things. We then fold ’em up and toss them into a bowl. Then, in teams, players draw from the bowl and have to get their team to guess what is on the strip of paper. There are 3 rounds, and the same topics/strips of paper are used for each round.

Round 1: Like Catchphrase, the player has to get his or her team to guess the answer without saying any of the words on the piece of paper.

Round 2: Like Charades, the player has to act out their word/phrase without speaking.

Round 3: Like… something challenging, the player can use only ONE WORD to try to get their team to guess the answer.

The idea is that each round gets simultaneously harder and easier, since you already know what some of the answers may be from the previous round, but the methods of getting your team to guess are more challenging. That was terribly explained, but it was a lot of fun!

Ladies
Morgan, Kari, Me, Meera, and Lauren.

I was fail at getting a group shot with everybody who was there in it, but even if I didn’t get a shot of you (Zach, John, Megan, Aaron!), rest assured it was awesome to meet you!

How do you feel about meeting internet friend IRL (in real life)? After having such great experiences with meeting up with readers and other bloggers, I’m all about it! Always in a smart, safe way, of course. No stalkers, plz! 😉

21 Comments

  1. I met my hubby after meeting IRL after meeting on the Internet, so I’m a proponent. 🙂

    Ten years ago, I was questioning religion and wondering if there was a God. I didn’t want to publicize my concerns, so I did what every intelligent woman does when she needs reliable and free advice–searched Google! I typed, “Is there a God,” and the first website produced was, “Askapreacher.com.” I clicked on Askapreacher.com and submitted the same question. The man who received my question was a preacher in Austin, Texas. We studied together, via the Internet, for over a year.

    Eventually, he turned from “Brother Wortham” to “William” and then “Edwardo” (okay, okay–TMI), and we talked about things other than God–Sonic Grape Slushies, cats and dogs, cabins in the woods, webcams (oh my!) Brother Wortham drove 16 hours straight to meet me face-to-face, and he proposed during our second visit! The rest is history–we’ve been happy ever since! (Well, we’re working on being happy on 1400 calories per day, 4 workouts at the gym per week, and Friday runs–fat flapping in the wind–but we’ll achieve our “skinny soulmate” status soon enough.)

    **I feel I should say he is no longer preaching–I SUCKED at being a preacher’s wife and that didn’t last very long. So he went back to college and got his master’s degree in education, and now we both teach together. 🙂 Oh, the joys of underpayed but overjoyed school teachers!

    BRAVO to Gretchen for meeting new friends and meeting IRL! (We’ll be sure to stop in and visit when we travel your way!)

    Becca

    • What a sweet story! The wonders of the interwebs indeed! 🙂

  2. I love meeting Internet friends in real life!! When I went to JMU in August, I met a friend IRL that I had met on Tumblr! I felt like I already knew her because she has a Youtube channel.

    Also back in my early years of college, I met a girl on MySpace who went to my high school, except I had never talked to her at school (at this point, she was still in high school and I was at JMU). We ended up becoming really good MySpace friends and I think the first time I really hang out with her (you know, outside of MySpace) was when I went to the beach for a week with her, her family, and a group of mutual friends!

    Does this mean I get to meet you one day? =] Have a happy Monday!

    • Um, SCHYEAH! I’ve been itching to revisit JMU – we should plan a trip there to meet and be awesome together! 😀

  3. I really want to meet more of my internet friends in real life. I feel like I know so much about them…but I’m also kind of shy in real life and I’m afraid I’d be super awkward around everyone! Maybe I would do well in one-on-one situations though.

    • Maybe it’d be easier because you don’t have to deal with the normal meeting-people stuff like “where are you from, what do you do, etc, etc.” since you probably already know that! I’m always amazed with how at-ease I feel meeting someone I’ve technically never met in real life, hahaha.

  4. I’m not sure if I’ve ever met internet friends in real life- i don’t really hang out on the interwebs much except to comment on your blog and the occasional tweet because i think people like to know what goes on in my head 🙂 The wine/cupcake party looks like a ton of fun and good for you on self restraint and only one full cupcake!

  5. Another big fan of meeting people online thanks to the Babyface finding me on the interwebs. We talked online for 6 weeks then met in person for a weekend and were engaged 6 weeks after that. Married less than a year later. Big fan of the internet.

    I meet people I’ve met online pretty frequently because of my job. I actually walked into a client meeting one time and I introduced myself and someone was like, “Wait. Are you mightyfinewine?” They totally recognized me from my personal Twitter handle.

    That being said, I tend to think my online personality is way more awesome than my real one, so I get really nervous before meeting anyone. I always feel like I’m gonna let them down.

    • I’ll be the judge of that! On the someday-to-come BEST DAY EVER when our worlds finally collide IRL, the world will explode with the awesomeness that ensues. Y’know, something like that. 😉

  6. The whole real life meeting thing gives me so much anxiety like I won’t be cool enough in real life haha, but I recently met a bunch of AZ bloggers and had a great time! And all of the best friends I have now I actually met in one way or an other because of the internet like 12 years ago, so definitely for it, nerves and all! 🙂

  7. I like Ari’s comment – I agree!

    Also, because I am so hyper observant, I couldn’t help but notice that the bowl in the last picture looks like the Rachael Ray “mess” bowl (or whatever she calls it) – I didn’t know you could buy those in real life!

    • Good eye! Yep, it’s her “GB” — I noticed it at Morgan’s house too! I think you can buy them from Bed, Bath & Beyond.

  8. Sometimes I think I’m way cooler online than I am in person, so I’m totally nervous meeting anyone IRL that I’ve “met” online, but I’m up for it!

  9. I Lurrrrvvveee meeting new bloggy pals 🙂 THree of my closest pals since graduating college have been of the bloggy reader variety 🙂 Unfortunately, these days I don’t seem to be getting out nearly as much as i used to and haven’t met many blog readers or writers (though i do have a long wish list of blog pals I would love to meet!)

    • I want to be on that list! 😀

  10. Those cats and so adorable! I want to pet and hug them.

    You should continue your tour of meeting bloggers by coming to Toronto. All right, you twisted my arm. Yeah, you can stay with me.

    I once dreamed about the perfect lemon coconut cookie. It was epic in my dream! After this post, I might start dreaming about lemon coconut cupcakes. Nom nom!

    • They are the cutest cats ever, huh?

      No, I’m not biased at all.

  11. I’m always game to meet people from the internets (yes I did that on purpose) but sometimes I get a little intimidated about it and no matter how much I would love to meet more of the people I read about every day online I seem to just never get the guts or the opportunity.

  12. Ummm SO EXCITED you were able to join us! I give you MAJOR props for going into a dinner with 8 other people and being the “outsider.” You were definitely my favorite guest of the evening though! And for anyone else who is curious – Gretchen is 10xs more awesome IRL than online. Hard to believe – but true!

    Thanks again for coming!! Hopefully we can hangout again.

    You know. On our road trip to Florida!

  13. When I was younger I met loads of people online then IRL from band message boards (including 2 boyfriends). Only see one of them regularly now (my legendary friend mark) but will always care about those people for playing a major role in my teenage years (also they make for great gossip via facebook now haha).
    So yeah online to IRL friends FTW!

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