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Posted on Feb 13, 2012 in Food | 41 comments

DC Food & Wine Festival 2012

Okay, before I say anything else, let’s pay special attention to the most exciting part of my weekend:

My brother proposed to Taylor, and she said yes! SQUEEEEE!! He whammied her with a proposal on her birthday — and she was COMPLETELY surprised. Though I had a hunch it was coming soon (I have a sixth sense about these things, hehe), I was blown away by Ben’s sweet and thoughtful proposal. Knowing how much she loves hidden object games (where you click around a screen to uncover items), he created one especially for her! He also videotaped the entire thing, so watch the video below if you want to know how it all went down. Fair warning: I totally started crying.

(Click through to the blog to see the video if you’re reading this via email!)

Okay, as I try to get my composure back, let’s recap another one of the weekend’s events, shall we? We’ll skip over the fact that I did not end up running the Love the Run You’re With 5K on Sunday (and with no good excuse as to why not), and instead flash back to Saturday, pre-proposal, where Ben and Taylor accompanied Sean and me to the DC Food & Wine Festival!

The face of someone who has no idea that she will be engaged in less than 24 hours…

It was my first time attending this huge wine-tasting event, and it was awesome! There were tons of people there, as you can see from the photo above, but as long as you were willing to finagle your way between folks and stand in the occasional line, well, there was plenty of wine to go around. I even ran into a familiar face there (Hi Amanda!) between sips of wine and bites of food. Not going to lie, I was definitely a little sloshed by the end, haha.


As you know, I’m not the biggest wine connoisseur (yet!) so this was yet another opportunity for me to suss out my likes and dislikes.


While I’m still definitely a white wine gal right now (especially a SPARKLING white wine gal, keke!), I think I’m coming around to some reds. I really like pinot noir, and even the occasional shiraz. Also, I now can say with absolute certainty that I dislike chardonnay. Hooray! I’m learning!


The food situation was fun for me too (obviously, haha). There wasn’t a TON of food, but the pickings were pretty good. There were general stations with bread, cheese, and hummus set up all around, and then there were vendor-specific booths offering samples as well. My favorite was the slices of filet with blue cheese sauce from the Old Hickory Steakhouse. I was VERY tempted to go back for seconds fourths. Heh.


Overall, a pretty fantastic weekend! Excitement on the family front and wine in mah bellah — not bad, not bad at all. Of course, this is still a mere prelude to the MAGICAL TIME that awaits me this coming weekend. I am now mere DAYS away from going to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter (a Christmas present from the ‘rents!) so hold onto your hats when it comes time for next week’s weekend recap! *high pitched squeal*

Oh, and for those of who you (accurately) think I’m neglecting my race training: the passing of my Harry Potter World visit will also mark the end of my half-assery. (Confession: I haven’t run more than 2.5 miles since, er, December? Eep.) This means I really will have to literally hit the bricks if I want to survive the Cherry Blossom 10 Miler in April and the Reach the Beach Relay in May. So that’s coming, worry ye not. Just let me just enjoy this final ring of freedom while I can, mmkay? 😉

What’s your proposal story? Or, if you aren’t engaged/married, your dream proposal scenario?


  1. I always say things like “I dont want it to be on a holiday. That is so lame.” But the truth is, the proposal is just as much for my other half as it is for me. If he wants to make that special day Valentines or Christmas, it really is just as great as having it on a random, non-holiday.

    • Oh, and Congrats to your brother and soon to be sister in law!! So very cute!

    • Yeah, I agree. I would say that for me, if my guy REALLY knew me, he would know how I do Christmas and thus not to try to smoosh my engagement and Christmas together, hahaha. THEY NEED TO BE CELEBRATED SEPARATELY! That said, I think all other holidays are totally fair game! 😉

  2. Thank you so much for sharing their video! What a unique and awesome proposal – congrats to them!

  3. Yay! Weddings so rock! Huge congrats to your bro’.

    (Who is the cute guy standing next to you in the last photo? Is that who I think it is?)

    My husband proposed to me on the front steps of his freshman dorm, because that’s where he lived when we first started dating. So, that was really cute, but what makes it all kind of remarkable is that the proposal took place so many years later. Eighteen years, to be exact. We hadn’t seen or heard from each other for seventeen of those years. When my husband found me on Facebook (“This might sound weird, but are you the Caitlin I dated freshman year . . .?”) he was living in Massachusetts and I was living in Beijing. Still, somehow it worked out. So, I truly believe some things are just meant to be!

    Can’t wait to see what fantastic guy is meant for you!

    • Haha! Yes, that would be Sean’s first blog appearance. 😛

      I love you and your husband’s whole story! Crossing time, the globe, and circumstance to be together… so epic and romantic!

  4. Major congrats to your brother and Taylor!!! It was awesome that he filmed the whole thing so they have it to remember!

    • I know! It makes me think that I would also really want there to be some sort of record of it happening — either it being filmed, or having someone stealthily taking pictures or something like that. It’s something you’re going to want to remember!!

  5. Oh my gosh, that’s perfect!! My “dream” proposal is something that will be unique to me and my future husband as a couple – like how your brother did this because he knows she likes those games. I like how thoughtful and personal it is. I don’t need anything fancy or “fairytale” esque, just something that really captures how well he knows me.

    • I agree. I think that thoughtful and personal trumps crazy-huge-fairytale anyday. That said, I’m split on whether I would want to be TOTALLY SURPRISED, or kind of knew it was coming that day because of all the build-up, y’know? Like… with an engagement scavenger hunt or something awesome like that.

      • Ooh, a scavenger hunt would be really fun. I hope that I’m surprised by the proposal but not by the question (if that makes sense). I’d like it if we had both agreed that we want to be married someday and then he catches me off guard with the ring. I also hope that I behave myself and don’t do something silly to ruin his proposal like say “I don’t like scavenger hunts” or “my feet hurt too much to keep walking, let’s just go home” right as he’s about to ask!

  6. We were watching Biggest Loser and after talking about how I was asked to stand up in another wedding he said “what do you think about us getting married?” We talked about it for a day or two and then told our families a few days later. I was soglad it happened like that. For me it needed to be a conversation. Not something that was sprung on me.

  7. Your brother is amazing! I had tears fill up my eyes watching that video- proposals always make me cry. I want to show that video to everyone- so creative!!

    (I’m actually writing about this on my blog tomorrow) 🙂
    My husband proposed to me in the summer of 2010. We had been in Colorado for almost a week (our favorite place to travel to) and it was our last day there. We rented bikes and biked from Vail to Breckenridge along this 30ish mile path. About 6 miles from Breck we stopped in this town called Frisco and rented a tandem kayak to go around Lake Dillon. There were all these little islands, so we pulled the kayak over to one and got out to walk around and check out the views. I took off my backpack to get my camera out and when I looked over at my husband, he was down on one knee holding a ring out toward me. I don’t remember what he said or what I said, but somewhere in there he proposed and I said yes. It was perfect, and my love for Colorado has a whole new (different) meaning now.

    • That is so romantic. I love all the stories of like “I reached down to _______ and when I turned around he was down on one knee.” It was Ben getting down on his knee that made me start crying when I watched the video!

  8. YESSS I HAVEN’T SHARED THIS STORY PUBLICLY YET and your blog is the perfect outlet.

    My proposal happened over fondue (because the path to my heart is paved with cheese), on the last night of Hanukkah. I suspected it was happening a few days beforehand, but I hadn’t caught on in the slightest that, for the few previous nights, my Hanukkah gifts had been:
    1) An OLD (original artwork *SNOB*) copy of “A Streetcar Named Desire”
    2) A NEW pair of pink LL Bean slippers (that heart-path is also paved with flannel)
    3) A “BORROWED” external hard drive containing his entire collection of music
    4) A BLUE pair of pearl and sapphire earrings
    and 5) A silver sixpence for my shoe.

    Gift six was the ring, and I’m letting the other two slide seeing as he also bought a plane ticket to come give me the ring, and on account of all the cheese.

    • I LOVE IT. That is so sweet and SO thoughtful! I think that my perfect proposal would also involve cheese to some extent.

      • I was SO proud of him for coming up with something unique (and, since he’s Baptist, something that might ease my mom’s fears a little about the religious future of her grandchildren). Ben kind of takes the cake on unique for this one, though. Wonderful!

    • This is priceless! I love it. Also, the road to my heart is also paved with cheese.

      • I knew he was the one when I asked him to pick out a block of cheese at Trader Joe’s and he went with Manchego.

    • I know, I know… *hangs head in shame*

  9. I just cried in my office watching the proposal. I am work and now have eyeliner smeared on my face. Thanks for that.

    (Soooooo freaking cuuuuuute!!!!!!)

  10. 1. So cute!
    2. I went to that wine festival when I lived in D.C. and had ridiculous amounts of fun!
    3. I miss you.

    • I miss YOU! When you come down for the half (you are doing that R&R, yes?) we must meet up, however briefly!

  11. Aw! I love that she said it might be a baby sloth! Love that video, love that she referenced it. I am so excited for you all!

    I never got an official engagement, and I am still feel a little gypped. We talked about it a lot, then we got preggers, and it was like OK well, let’s do this thing. But we promised each other that at 5 years we will have a reconsideration ceremony, I will get a rock, and he will get an engine. (That would make more sense if you knew him)

    I saw the ad for the food and wine festival and wanted to go. Alas, maybe next year.

  12. Congrats to your brother! That was the cutest proposal ever.

  13. My MIL was a high school English and French teacher and every other summer took a group of students to Europe. She called and asked if Jason and I would like to go. I talked to my mom and since I didn’t take a senior trip in high school she agreed to help me pay to get there. I was so excited and knew it was a once in a lifetime opportunity for me. We traveled to London first and I LOVED it! We then road the chunnel to Paris. I was so catty on the train. We had a huge fight about how I felt we would never get engaged because he said he wanted to wait until he had enough money to buy the perfect ring. I told him I wasn’t worried about a ring I just wanted to be engaged. Needless to say, we got to Paris and there was uneasy tension between us. The next day we went to the Lourve, and had a night tour of the Eiffel Tower set up. I should have known something was up when he and my MIL both said they would go to the tippy top with me. (They are both deathly afraid of heights.) My mother in law asked if she could carry my video camera so I could get good still shots at the top. I was so excited and so chatty all the way up. We got to the top finally, and I went snap happy. Jason kept trying to grab my hand and I would say hold on a sec, just one more pic, when he finally got my attention, he was down on one knee with the ring and our whole tour group was there watching with tears in their eyes. Everyone knew it was happening but me! I was so shocked and suprised…I don’t remember everything that was said, but he asked and I said yes. We then had to go down for I too was having a mini panic attack. I remember grabbing him and saying I was so mean to you on the train! I will always have a special place in my heart for Paris, and our tower. That was 9 years ago, and we are still going strong! 🙂

    Congratulations to your brother and future sister in law. They make such a cute couple! I am so jealous you are going to HP world! I will go there some day!

  14. OMG that is SOOOO cute. <3 congrats to them!

  15. Ohhh …. how adorable! What a romantic brother you have Gretchen.

    Best of everything Taylor and Ben. ; ) You are gonna have a rockin wedding!

    P.S. Taylor looks a bit like Kit Hoover.

  16. LOVE that video!!!!!!!! Thanks for posting!

  17. Congrats to your brother and future sister-in-law! Holy effort…he gets major props for all of that. It was so nice seeing you on Saturday! We should definitely get together soon.

  18. Awww, what a sweet proposal. I totally teared up. Congrats to your brother and future sister in law! 🙂

  19. awwww so sweet, made be tear up too. Congrats!

  20. I’m dying over how cute that proposal was! OMG! How original and awesome! And it’s documented forever to relive and share with their children! SQUEEEE!!!!! 🙂

  21. Now you get to go to another wedding! We all know how Gretchen loves her weddings! Congratulations Ben and Taylor.

    Also, know that I tear up every time I think about the video! So sweet!


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