surprises

blowing out candles blur excitementalmond pave paradox pastry birthdayWe threw a surprise birthday party for my boss on Wednesday. My coworkers and I gathered at a pizza place on the Downtown Mall while we waited for her daughter to find a reason to get her out of the coffee shop. Once they passed, we scampered to the shop to set up. We ate delicious pizza from Vita Nova and had Almond Pave from Paradox Pastry (delicious and gluten free!) for dessert.

She didn’t suspect a thing. She insisted I take my picture with some birthday balloons since my birthday was yesterday. I love the coffee shop staff, so it’s always great to hang out after hours.

*Photos were kept to a minimum in this post to respect the privacy of friends and family. But there are lots of great ones!

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surprise!

After I heard that my friend Gillian was flying to England to surprise her mom for her birthday, I decided it’d be perfect to surprise my sister by showing up for her college graduation in Jacksonville, Florida.

graduation girl

I’d been homesick for awhile anyway, and with a new job that provides generous personal leave, everything fell into place. I boarded a plane from Charlottesville last Friday morning and arrived in Jacksonville (after a bout of nausea, serious sinus pressure, and a nearly missed connecting flight) before 11 am, just in time to catch Jenny before extended family arrived. Even though my dad had explicitly mentioned my name in connection to weekend events the day before, Jenny didn’t suspect a thing. In fact, she called me while I was in the grocery store parking lot 5 minutes from the house to talk to me about post-graduation plans.

family graduation

We enjoyed post-graduation hors d’oeuvres courtesy of our mother,

fa2 fa3

spent some time relaxing and shopping on Saturday,

morning cerealregal cat

and hung out with my Florida friends (and the kitten) on Sunday afternoon.

fa14 friends at beachsisters at beach

It was a wonderful, albeit brief, trip home. I’m so glad I survived my first time flying alone to see loved ones and enjoy the Florida weather. Congratulations, Jennifer!

sisters at beach