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Beach Surprise

Well, the secret can come out now! We are in Amelia Island, Florida!

The reason for all of the secrecy was that we are here to celebrate my friend Cristen’s 30th birthday…and it was a surprise to her that we were coming! Her husband planned for us to be here months ago and we all kept it a secret! She thought it was just going to be a quiet beach vacation with Graham.

Cristen and Graham were our best friends when Brandon was  in law school and now live 6 hours away in south Georgia. We only get to see each other a couple of times a year (you can read all about our last visit to south Georgia in this post!). We are soooooo happy to be here!

Brandon and I left Charlotte around 1 p.m. yesterday to make the trip down to Amelia. It was about a 5.5 hour drive.

I had my heart set on a Starbucks pick-me-up and even downloaded the Starbucks iPhone app to locate a store but there were NONE even remotely close. (Side note…the Starbucks app is awesome!) I had to settle for a Dunkin’ Donuts iced coffee and it was very mediocre. I know that people go crazy over their coffee but I just don’t see what the hype is about.

We arrived around 7 p.m. and headed straight to downtown Fernandina Beach for dinner. I have never been here before and it is a beautiful beach town. We were in a bit of a rush to eat dinner so we stopped in the first place that looked good.

We ended up at Pepper’s Mexican Grill and Cantina where I ordered a shrimp quesadilla with poblano peppers and mushrooms. It was excellent.

I grabbed a quick picture of the water on our walk back to the car and then my camera battery died. And then I had a mini-meltdown as I realized that I didn’t bring the charger. What kind of blogger and friend am I!? It’s iPhone pictures from here on out. 🙁

Graham and Cristen were having a birthday dinner at the Ritz Carlton (they did a blind chef’s tasting with wine pairings that sounded phenomenal!) and the plan was for us to be there waiting when they got home.

We got all set with champagne, a banner and horns and waited for their arrival. It was a bit of a fire drill because Graham called from the bathroom saying that they were ordering dessert. We rushed to get to the condo, get the car unloaded and get everything ready and then we got a text that Cristen had ordered coffee and they would be a while longer. Whew…

Cristen was SO shocked to see us when they opened the door. There was screaming, hugs and quite a few tears! YAY! I am so happy to be here with her to celebrate her 30th!!!!!!! We spent the rest of the evening catching up. It was wonderful!

I slept for NINE hours last night (sadly, I can’t remember the last time I got more than 6 hours of sleep so it was SO needed).

I woke up starving and made a bowl of plain Greek yogurt with a drizzle of honey, peaches, bananas and a little bit of crumbled banana bread.

Off to the beach – it’s a beautiful day. Not a cloud in the sky. This break came at just the right time. Rest and relaxation with friends is exactly what I need right now!

{ 28 comments… add one }
  • 1
    Brooke @ Veggie Table July 29, 2011, 10:41 am

    I love surprises!!! Looks like you guys will have a blast this weekend at the beach – Happy 30th to Cristen!

  • 2
    Lori July 29, 2011, 10:43 am

    you are such good friends!

  • 3
    Steph July 29, 2011, 11:05 am

    What a wonderful surprise and way to spend the weekend! Have a great time relaxing with your friends!

  • 4
    Jen July 29, 2011, 11:18 am

    I love Amelia Island! It’s gorgeous! Have an amazing weekend with your friends 🙂

  • 5
    caitlin July 29, 2011, 11:43 am

    Looks like a wondeful weekend getaway! I hope you have a nice, relaxing time and catch up on sleep!
    Oh and I agree with you on the dunkin donuts, I tried it when I was at Healthy Living Summit in Chicago and actually hated it :(. I’m downloading the Starbucks App as we speak!

  • 6
    Alaina July 29, 2011, 11:53 am

    Aw, what great friends you guys are!! Cristen looks so surprised and happy!

    Hope you have a wonderful and relaxing weekend! I’m off too and I’m headed up to Maine! 🙂

    • 7
      Jen July 29, 2011, 7:06 pm

      maine!? i’ve never been there but i’ve heard it’s so beautiful. have fun!

  • 8
    Rachael July 29, 2011, 11:54 am

    You are SUCH a cutie! love the pink tube top and you’re adorable in the bday hat! glad you’re having a relaxing time – visiting/being with friends from out of town is SOO special. Awesome you got to be there for her for her 30th bday =) enjoy the blessed memories !

    • 9
      Jen July 29, 2011, 7:04 pm

      thanks girl! we’re so happy to be here! 😛

  • 10
    natalie (the sweets life) July 29, 2011, 12:18 pm

    such a wonderful surprise and it looks like a beautiful place. i hope you guys have a great weekend!

  • 11
    Kamaile July 29, 2011, 12:25 pm


  • 12
    Brooke July 29, 2011, 1:09 pm

    Have fun! My parents LOVE it down there. That’s where they want to retire!

    • 13
      Jen July 29, 2011, 7:04 pm

      oh fun! it is a cute island. dying to explore more.

  • 14
    Matt @ The Athlete's Plate July 29, 2011, 1:50 pm

    Shrimp quesadillas is what I always order 🙂 So good!

    • 15
      Jen July 29, 2011, 7:03 pm

      matt – i’m so boring. i usually stick with veggie quesadillas and the shrimp was a great change of pace.

  • 16
    Anastasia July 29, 2011, 1:56 pm

    Aw, yay! It looks gorgeous there! Have fun!

    Dunkin Donuts coffee doesn’t even begin to compare to Starbucks! I don’t get the hype either.

  • 18
    Holly @ Pink Runner July 29, 2011, 2:51 pm

    I had my first Dunkin Donuts iced coffee a month ago and was shocked when they didn’t have soy milk. I had to go without and drink it black, which was just okay.

    • 19
      Jen July 29, 2011, 7:02 pm

      i know!!! i was bummed there was no soy too! crazy.

  • 20
    Erin @ Naturally Addicted July 29, 2011, 6:04 pm

    That is so sweet! Have a blast!! I’ve never been to Amelia Island, but it looks so gorgeous!

  • 21
    Pam Leverette July 29, 2011, 6:40 pm

    Ben and I love Amelia Island! We have been several times and have always had a wonderful time, fun, food, awesome views and great little shops! One of our favorite places to eat is a little French resturant on a side street, close to the Hampton Inn. I’m sorry, I’ve forgotten the name 🙁 Also, for breakfast we love Frankie and Johnny’s (they have fresh salsa that is to die for)! Hope this tidbit of info helps. ENJOY!!! Happy 30th to your friend! I love surprises!

    • 22
      Jen July 29, 2011, 7:01 pm

      pam – cristen and graham ate at the french place two nights ago and said it was AMAZING! i’ll keep the breakfast place in mind. might be a good to hit up on the way out sunday! 🙂

  • 23
    Megan@eatmybeets July 29, 2011, 8:04 pm

    Ah what a good friend you are! I love surprises- especially when they are complete successes.

  • 24
    Ashley Sawyer July 29, 2011, 9:14 pm

    I have been to peppers!! so fun!!! 🙂

    • 25
      Jen August 1, 2011, 10:42 am

      this was our first trip to amelia island. loved it. will definitely be back!

  • 26
    MC July 29, 2011, 10:06 pm

    I’ve ordered that same dish at Pepper’s — it is delicious 🙂

    Hope you have an awesome and fun weekend!!!!


    • 27
      Jen August 1, 2011, 10:41 am

      ah…so funny! it was our first time on amelia island. we loved it!

  • 28
    lindsay July 30, 2011, 7:38 am

    yay! enjoy the beach and the fun birthday festivities!

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