Getting Personal #116: Happy Anniversary, Mom and Dad V.!

Image may contain: 3 people, including Al Vardaro, people smiling, people standing and suit

With Al on our wedding day, November 2015.

Image may contain: 7 people, including Savy Beng Vardaro, Nick Vardaro, Laura Beth Vardaro and Al Vardaro, people smiling, people standing and indoor

I’m pretty sure this is the most recent picture of us. This was taken at Andy Boy’s, a local pizza place, for Momma V.’s birthday, March 2018.

Happy Anniversary to Al’s parents, Mom and Dad Vardaro!

It’s easy to remember how many years they’ve been married, because my parents have been married for the exact same number of years. Crazy, right? Both sets of parents got married in 1982, just in different months!

Bruce and Debbie, I hope you both had a great day today!

Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Adventure Time: Newport News & Williamsburg, VA Edition (Greyhounds, Colonial Williamsburg, and Romantic Escape Package)

Al and I had a great weekend! We got to meet and greet some greyhounds, and then spent some time at The Williamsburg Winery!

We went to a meet-and-greet with Old Dominion Greyhound Adoption. This was their first meet-and-greet at the Care-A-Lot in Newport News. There were nine greyhounds there, with their owners, along with the Director of the group. Everyone was so nice and friendly! The dogs were incredibly sweet. We went home with an application, and are excited to start this process!

After the greyhound meet-and-greet, we went to Colonial Williamsburg for lunch. The Trellis Bar & Grill is a really nice restaurant, right in the heart of Merchants Square.

We enjoyed a hearty lunch – Al had “The Burger” and I got their tortellini.

I love the unique touches, from their birdcage lanterns, to their cute salt and pepper grinders.. Their water comes in epic bottles!

We weren’t quite full after our entrees, but we decided to spring for dessert and their signature mock-tails. For dessert, I chose their Flourless Chocolate Torte, and Al had their Burnt Sugar ice cream. Al had the “Moscow Pony” mock-tail, and I had their “No-Jito” mock-tail. They were awesome!

After lunch, we ventured 12 minutes away to The Williamsburg Winery. Al won a very generous gift card at his company Christmas party in December, which allowed us this experience!

We chose the Romantic Winter Escape Hotel Package:

  • One Night in a Tradition room, with king-sized bed and wood-burning fireplace*

  • A Tour and Wine Tasting for two at the Williamsburg Winery, including a tour of the barrel cellar and a tasting of seven wines

  • Bottle of Williamsburg Winery wine

  • Artisanal chocolates

  • $100 Dinner Voucher for Café Provençal

  • European-style Continental Breakfast for two including croissants, pastries, fresh fruit and more

We got to the winery around 4:00. We checked in around 4:15, which gave us just enough time to unload the car before the 4:30 tour and tasting.

These are the giant oak barrels where the wine is stored!

Barrels of wine in the cellar.

This is the “reserve cellar,” where a more extensive tour and tasting is held.

The shelves hold different vintages of wine, dating back to the late 1980s.

These are the three concrete eggs that hold the white wines.

Once the barrels are past their prime (Their life span is about 10 years), they are sold to private collectors, or used as trash cans in places like Colonial Williamsburg.

The tour and tasting were fabulous. Our guide, Stephanie, was incredibly knowledgeable and awesome! We tasted several different wines. It was really nice and relaxing!

The view from our hotel window. That’s the winery in the distance.

Our room at Wedmore Place was the “Brittany.” I felt like we were in Europe! The bed was incredibly comfortable. I wanted to take the mattress home!

I got to wear my new LuLaRoe Maxi!

Chesapeake Bay Crab Cakes.

Filet Mignon.

Poached Apple Tart.

Pumpkin Cheesecake.

We had an amazing dinner at Cafe Provençal, which was located in the lower level of the hotel. Everything was divine! Al got the Caramelized Onion Soup (no photo), and the Filet Mignon. I had their delicious Chesapeake Bay Crab Cakes, along with a glass of their A Midsummer Night’s White.

For dessert, Al got the Pumpkin Cheesecake, and I had the Poached Apple Tart.

There were exquisite pieces of furniture, like this, throughout!

The courtyard.

Our complimentary bottle of merlot, wine glasses, and artisanal chocolates!

Part of the package was a bottle of wine of our choice, wine glasses, and artisanal chocolates! We took it home. With our complimentary tour glasses, we have four new wine glasses at home!

On Sunday morning, we ate breakfast at the cafe. It was a lavish feast, with fresh fruit, strong coffee, assorted croissants, and quiche! We took our time, and checked out about an hour later. We went back to reality quickly – Getting gas, grocery shopping, getting ready for the new work week.

It was a much-needed mini-getaway. A piece of Europe is only 45 minutes away!

Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Getting Personal #56: Happy 35th Anniversary, Mom and Dad!

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Mom and Dad!

I wanted to take a few minutes today to wish my Mom and Dad a very happy 35th wedding anniversary!

They were married on this date in 1982, in Florida. The last time I checked, the building was still standing, but it was no longer pink!

They celebrated this past weekend with a mini-getaway, and Mom surprised Dad with flowers on the altar at church yesterday. The arrangement had daisies in it, and that’s what Mom had in her original bouquet.

I hope you two had a great day today!

Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Adventure Time: Outer Banks, NC Edition (First Wedding Anniversary Getaway!)


Our original plan was getting away to the mountains of Virginia for our first wedding anniversary.

However, with a mid-November wedding, we didn’t realize how expensive the accommodations were at this time of year!

So, we switched to Plan B: The beach!

The Outer Banks of North Carolina are basically a 90-minute drive from our house. We’ve been through Corolla, Nags Head, and Bodie Island on previous trips.

Al hadn’t been farther south than that.

We decided on Hatteras.

It was a three-hour car ride, but it was well worth it.

We found a really nice place, the Cape Hatteras Motel, in Buxton. It’s right on the beach. It was literally half the cost of any place in the mountains, mainly because it was the off-season.

One of our first stops was the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse! It was just a few miles from the motel.


The Cape Hatteras Lighthouse. We couldn’t climb it – Their season runs through Columbus Day – but we could walk around and enjoy the park.


I love these wooden signs.


I love how it’s in the shape of an arrowhead.


I think this was my favorite photo of the whole trip!

The next day, we drove down to Hatteras Island and explored the Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum. It explores the rich history of the area – Fishing, diving, shipwrecks, the USS Monitor, and its role in the Civil War and other events.

The museum is right next to the Hatteras ferry terminal, so we decided to take the ferry across the sound to Ocracoke Island on Sunday.


We passed this ferry on the way to Ocracoke.


I love how all the wooden signs are different.


It’s one of the smaller lighthouses, and no one can climb it. But, it’s still a beautiful sight.


Ocracoke is a charming island. We ate lunch at the Ocracoke Oyster Company, and had delicious seafood. The next time we travel down, we’d like to check out some more of the islands and lighthouses.


The view from our hotel balcony during sunset and the full moon.


This was taken the night of the supermoon. It was huge as it was rising, but this was the best I could do with my camera.


This was such a relaxing vacation!

We tried several local restaurants during our trip, and everything was delicious!

Al is also creating a video about our trip! I’ll post it as soon as it’s finished.

We had a great time on our first vacation since our honeymoon.

Next year: We’re thinking about the Grand Canyon!

Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂


Commentary #15: “The Best Explanation of Marriage”


1 Corinthians

Image Credit:

I wanted to share this graphic with you first. This passage has always been one of my favorites, and it was read at our wedding in November.

But, that’s not the main message I want to share in this post.

Take a look at this:

Image Credit: CatholicLink Español on Twitter

Image Credit: CatholicLink Español on Twitter

My friend Katie shared this infographic on Facebook recently.

What’s interesting, though, is when Katie originally shared this, the graphic had everything you see, except for the CatholicLink logo/symbol on the bottom. It makes sense, since it is a Bible verse, but still, it was an interesting observation to note.

As many of you know, I am a Christian. I was raised in the United Methodist Church. I have read the whole Bible. In the words of a Jeremy Camp song, I walk by faith.

This graphic struck me, hence why I wanted to write about it.

I wanted to break down this infographic and really dive deep.

“A man” – Maturity

I’m interpreting this as a man has matured from a boy when he decides to get married. That makes sense to me. The age of consent to get married varies by state though. Some states allow parties to marry when they’re 15 or 16!

“Leaves” – Transition

Transition is a big part of marriage, but it’s a big part of life, too. For me, I have transitioned several times. I left home for the first time in 2007, to attend college. I transitioned again in 2011, when I came back home after college graduation. In 2013, I left home again to move into my first apartment. In 2014, I moved back home, again, to save money, in anticipation of eventually buying a house. And then, in 2015, I transitioned into marriage with Al. Sometime in 2016, we will transition again – together – into our own home!

I used to believe that a person, whether man or woman, should experience at least some of these transitions before getting married.

That wasn’t the case with Al – He’s only moved once in his entire life, and he never went away to college. The biggest transition, that I think he went through, was a few years ago, when he didn’t have a job for six months. But, we’re married now (Tomorrow is our 3-month anniversary), and it’s amazing!

He’s shown me so many things through his experiences, like going to community college. It’s cheaper, and you get a great education, too!

“Father and mother” – Model of a complete family

This part, I disagree with. I get that this comes from the Bible – One of the oldest books, ever.

But, in today’s world, a “complete family” is not just a mom and dad anymore.

It can be two dads. It can be two moms. It can be grandparents, or other relatives. It can be either a mom or a dad. It can be a mom and stepdad, and vice-versa.

“Attached” – A new family

I’m not sure if “a new family” is the right/best way to interpret the word “attached.” With marriage, the idea is that you’re creating a new family, yes. And that the parties involved are creating a new chapter, together.

But the word “attached” is a bit strong, to me. I still have a strong attachment to my parents, I believe I always will. That’s mainly because I am an only child. It’s important to keep close ties with your family, unless you have solid reasons/beliefs to not to.

“His wife” – Complement

This interpretation confused me, at first, until I realized that I was thinking of the wrong word. My first thought was “compliment.”

Complement – Refers to something that completes or goes well with something.

I agree with “goes well with something.”

I don’t agree with “completes.”

The reason I say that is Al doesn’t “complete” me. I am my own person. I am Laura Beth. I wasn’t incomplete before I met Al. I was recovering from an extensive abusive relationship, and Al helped make me whole again, but he himself didn’t do that for me. He helped me heal, over time. He listened. He comforted me. He understood the journey I was on.

He wasn’t my missing piece. He’s a beautiful, wonderful addition to my life. I’m so happy that we fell in love, dated, got engaged, and are now married. I look forward to spending the rest of my life with him!

“They become” – A process of learning, friendship and trust

I like this one. To make a marriage, relationship, or friendship work, you have to put in the effort to learn about each other, be friendly, and trust each other.

For Al and I, we started out as friends. I didn’t know him from Adam, so to speak. Before we exchanged phone numbers and became Facebook friends, I had said hi to him maybe twice in their house between 2009 and 2010.

When I watched Inglorious Basterds with Al and Nick the night before I went back to Longwood in August 2010, I sat between them on the couch in their backyard garage. I remember thinking to myself, “I will be content if we are friends forever.”

I trusted Al from the very beginning. I felt like I could tell him anything, and I still feel that way now, all these years later. That’s one thing that will never change.

“One flesh” – Deep intimacy between two people

I get that intimacy and sex is a big part of marriage. And that’s wonderful. I don’t and won’t judge you.

But, it isn’t everything. And I’m glad this graphic shows that. It’s a significant part, but you have to have trust, friendship, and more.

Justin, a regular reader and friend, offered his two cents about this to me in a Facebook message:

“As someone not of religion, I can tell you this Laura Beth: Marriage is a grand adventure. It’s like finding a companion in an RPG, the healer to your fighter, the Sword user to your Bow and Arrow. It’s meeting someone who will fill that empty spot in your passenger seat where groceries once was. It’s finding someone who you want to annoy, or be annoyed by, for life. Someone who you love spending time with, but also can appreciate the time you spend apart, for absence does make the heart grow fonder. It’s finding someone who you may get really angry at but you’ll still hold the umbrella under them on a rainy day, and most of all it’s finding someone who you can say is THE ONE …”

I love his analogies. It’s hard for me to say anything better than this.

I’m so glad Al and I found each other. I was reflecting on the journey I’ve been on in the car yesterday. I feel so fortunate. I am blessed. My faith has guided me through my life, even when it has wavered.

It is true – Everything happens for a reason.

Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂