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Saturday, August 31, 2013

Sangria Saturday

After our visit to Round Peak Vineyard the other day, Darling Fiance and I were inspired celebrate Sangria Saturday and make our own version of the Spanish summertime spritzer. We found a few recipes we liked and sort of combined them and the result was delicious! Here's what we did:

Combine the following ingredients into a pitcher:
1.5 Bottles of red wine {we opted for a cabernet sauvignon}
1 Bottle of sweet red wine
1/2 Cup of Raspberry schnapps
1/2 Cup Brandy
1/2 Cup Ginger Ale {optional}
Sliced orange, lemon, and lime

Add ice, stir, chill, and sip!


Friday, August 30, 2013

Blue Ridge Parkway Picnic





Darling Fiance and I recently took a day to ourselves. It was a fairly hot day, so we headed to the mountains. We packed a picnic of tuna salad sandwiches, grapes, strawberries, pasta salad, and chocolate chip cookies and drove along the Blue Ride Parkway. After a lovely lunch spent chatting and taking in the scenery {especially the dozens of butterflies all around}, we stopped into a local vineyard and did a little wine tasting. We also shared a glass of sangria outside on the patio before heading home. It was a relaxing, lovely way to spend the day together.





Thursday, August 29, 2013

Throwback Thursday

Once upon a time I was a self-proclaimed soccer superstar. Granted, I preferred sitting in the field and picking flowers to running and scoring goals. However, I enjoyed playing on the Pink Panthers and wore my uniform {and matching, very large bow} proudly.



Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Cinema Under the Stars

About a week ago, it was an unusually cool Summer evening. A few friends and I got together to watch a movie outside on the lawn in front of Reynolda House. The film de jour was Annie Hall. We packed a picnic {in my fantastic picnic basket} of grapes, wine, and some small bites to enjoy as we watched the quirky romance between Woody Allen and Diane Keaton unfold before us.


It was a lovely evening spent curled up in blankets surrounded by friends.


Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Morning Ritual

My morning ritual is nothing terribly exciting. The only thing that is vastly important to me in the morning {before hair style, clothing choice, perfume selection, all of it} is my cup of coffee. I like to enjoy one cup of coffee in bed while I'm still waking up. My wonderful fiance set up a timer on our Keurig, so when I wake up, so does our coffee maker. I make my coffee, do a quick wake-up stretch in the kitchen while it's brewing, and then take my cup 'o jo and crawl back into my cozy bed. I sip, enjoy, and wake up. To me, it is a truly perfect way to start the morning.



Monday, August 26, 2013

Etiquette

Etiquette is important. It is a code that is equally important in social and professional settings. It helps to have cheat sheets on hand for an easy brush-up. Today, let's just brush up on table settings. Review what goes where, so next time you host a dinner party, setting the table will be a little easier.


Saturday, August 24, 2013

The Man Upstairs

When you're panicked, stressed, or generally out of sorts; take a moment. If you believe in God {or any higher power}, say a little prayer. Mention what you need and what you're thankful to have. It'll help put things into perspective. Find peace in knowing that you're not alone and your life is unfolding exactly as it should {anxiety and bumps in the road included}. Try not to worry.


Friday, August 23, 2013

Sweet Treats

I love food and I definitely have a sweet tooth. When making desserts, I like mixing textures and layering flavors. One recipe I like is Ina Garten's Mini Orange Chocolate Chunk Cake. I originally made this dessert for my dad because he loves chocolate and orange paired together. The end result was fluffy cake with a subtle orange flavor and a delicious, silky ganache.

The recipe it a little labor intensive, but if you're up for the challenge, I recommend giving it a whirl. The cake consumers will give you a thumbs-up.



Thursday, August 22, 2013

Throwback Thursday

I love cotton candy. It's pink, fluffy, huge, and on a stick. What's not to love? I have always loved this particular confection and always will.

{Preschool carnival. Nice bangs, Ginna.}

 
{Cotton Candy and I still going strong 20 years later}

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Choose

Today, choose to be grateful. Instead of focusing on what you want and what you don't have, be appreciative of all that you do have.

Choose to love. Instead of rolling your eyes or cursing people in your head {or aloud}, choose to see the good in people.

Choose to pause {I promise, it's ok!} Life is hectic, stressful, crazy, and wonderful all at the same time. When you are running on empty and far past your limit, take a moment to stop. Just stop. Breathe, recoup, and move forward.


Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Library

I spent a lovely early evening in my favorite library, which is conveniently located within my parents' home. Their library is warm, homey, and chalked full of books and booze, respectfully. I flipped through old photo albums and skimmed book covers while sipping a cocktail {Rum and Diet Coke}. The rain outside was the perfect soundtrack to my evening. Looking at family photos makes me blissfully happy. Seeing my mom as a baby and my dad's {awesome} college beard makes me smile. My mom and dad have a vast book collection, thanks to my father's sincere love and appreciation for literature. From War and Peace to Friday Night Lights, they've got an excellent selection. The crystal decanters they display among the texts add a nice touch.


Monday, August 19, 2013

Grab a Beer

On a warm Summer evening, I find a cold beer to be delightfully refreshing. I'm no beer connoisseur by any means, but I do have a few that I enjoy.

Bell's Oberon (Kalamazoo, Michigan)



Dos Equis (Mexico)



Blue Moon (Belgian-style made in Golden, Colorado)




Kirin (Japan)


If you're of age and it's a nice, warm Summer evening, crack open a cold one. Why not?



Saturday, August 17, 2013

Hail Purdue

I bleed Old Gold and Black and am a very proud Boilermaker. I loved my four years at Purdue University and cherish all of the wonderful memories I made there. I met some of my best friends at school (mostly Pi Phis) and met my wonderful husband-to-be. I miss Breakfast Club, basketball games, nights out, cramming for exams, and living with my sorority sisters. College was one of the best times in my life and I miss it so. Thanks, Purdue! Boiler up.


Friday, August 16, 2013

Geek Chic

We women these days are very tech savvy. We rely on our phones to navigate us through life as much as through the streets when traveling from Point A to Point B. With that being said, here are a few gadgets designed with girls in mind.

The Everpurse: A bag as powerful as you. These cute {leather or fabric}clutches charge your phone will you're out and about so you're never caught with a dead phone.


The Rebecca Minkoff for Stelle Audio Clutch. This wireless Bluetooth speaker doubles as a stylish handbag. New York designer Rebecca Minkoff teamed up with tech company Stelle to bring you a mod way to do your Bluetooth thing. Bring it with you to a girlfriend's house and listen to some tunes while you're getting ready. Utilize the speakerphone abilities while you're driving around town. Choose whichever color suits your mood.


The Jackery Mini Portable Charger. It's about the size as a tube of lipstick and can run your smartphone for 50 hours. Plus, its only $30; very doable.

Scottvest has some pretty rad clothing options for women. I'm a fan of the Chloe Bling Hoodie, which has 15 pockets {for ALL of your things} and is 100% microfleece to keep you toasty warm.




Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Dinner Party Idea


My current residence is not ideal for entertaining, but I made do. I look forward to the days when I'll have a house with designated entertaining space, both indoor and outdoor. {sigh} Until then, I'll be making lists of dinner parties I plan to hostess.

For a fun and casual evening, I think a southern-inspired menu is great. Ina Garten's Oven Fried Chicken recipe is perfect! It makes for chicken that is moist on the inside and crunchy on the outside, without the grease.
A mashed potato bar is a slightly more elegant version of the classic side. Simply whip up your favorite mashed potato recipe {I like this one} and dollop portions into martini glasses. Set out toppings and let your guests build their own side!

And for dessert: apple pie. It's a classic crowd pleaser. Buy it from the bakery or make your own. Serve it up with some ice cream or whipped cream. It's an ideal sweet finish to the evening.


Tuesday, August 13, 2013

You Time

It's important to take a little time to yourself every once in a while. A bit of designated "you time" helps to make you a better person. It's okay to unplug from the world (phones, computers, tablets, etc.) and set aside time for yourself. You can take a bath, give yourself a pedicure, watch a movie, read a few chapters of your book, test out a new recipe, etc. just make sure you're doing something for YOU. The stresses of everyday life can quickly become overwhelming. So, before you freak out, take a self-mandated time out. You'll be glad you did.



Monday, August 12, 2013

Daddy/Daughter Dance

My dad was my very first best friend growing up. We shop, laugh, drink, and have fun together. He's been my biggest fan since I was born and I love him oh so much. However, I have found there to be a lot of pressure with regard to choosing a Father/Daughter dance for my wedding. I mean, all eyes will be on me and my father and all ears will be listening to the song chosen. My dad and I aren't really a "let's slow dance together" duo. We nearly die laughing every time we imitate the "to the debutantes!" toast from my Deb Ball six years ago. So, I figured, I'll just choose a song that's fun. And the winner is: Sweet Child 'O Mine by Guns 'n Roses. Rock on, fellow brides.






Saturday, August 10, 2013

Hot Ham & Cheese

I enjoy having people in my home and entertaining. In my opinion, one of the most important elements of entertaining in the home is food. I like to make relatively simple things that I can make ahead of time, so I'm not stressed and pressed for time 30 minutes before guests are due to arrive. One item I enjoy serving is hot ham 'n cheese sliders. I found this recipe on Pinterest and have received rave reviews on a few separate occasions! The recipe is simple and easy to follow with deliciously savory results.








Friday, August 9, 2013

Mackinack Island Trip

Getting away with your significant other is a life necessity. About a year ago, Blake and I took a trip up to Mackinac Island, Michigan. If you ever have the opportunity to go, do. It's a darling little island on the northern tip of the Mitten State. Blake and I just wanted to get away and spend some time together. We drove up and spent the day on the island. We walked around, rode bikes {well, bike, since it was tandem}, sat on the largest front porch in America {at The Grand Hotel}, and enjoyed a beer at The Pink Pony. It was so relaxing to be with my love, away from work and other obligations.





Take some time off, hang out together, and recharge. 






Thursday, August 8, 2013

Throwback Thursday

One of my fondest memories as a little girl is of my dad reading me bedtime stories. One of my all-time favorites is The Runaway Bunny written by Margaret Wise Brown and illustrated {beautifully} by Clement Hurd. It's a charming tale of a little white bunny who wants to run away from home, but his mother keeps reminding him that she'll just run after him.





Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Dealing With In-Laws

Planning a wedding is stressful. I've found it especially stressful when dealing with the future in-laws. Not to say they aren't perfectly lovely people, it's just more difficult for me to be frank with them, compared to my own family. So, I have found it best to let Darling Fiance deal directly with his parents. He can then relay the information to me and I can then fill my parents in on whatever is going on. This may seem like a few unnecessary steps, however, it is not. Darling Fiance knows his parents and how they best communicate. In turn, I know my parents and their preferred communication style. So, it's easiest if he deals with his family, I deal with mine, and we communicate with each other in between. It has since saved me many awkward-feeling moments.



Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Working environment

I work with the nicest people in the world. Their hearts are like the Grinch {at the end}; three sizes too big.

I'm very fortunate to work with such passionate, driven, and encouraging women. Their kind hearts and driven minds inspire me daily.

I am privileged to work in a positive and encouraging work environment. The organizational culture is relaxed and respectful. If you're unhappy in your job, find a new one. I did. It was terrifying at first {unemployment is a scary adjustment}, but I've never regretted it for a second. I am vastly happier in my new job than I was at my previous job and feel very grateful. Girl power.



Monday, August 5, 2013

Summertime Chic

I work at a darling boutique in town, which has fully reignited my passion for fashion. Please pardon the rhyme...I do that sometimes. For summer, there are a few go-to looks I've come to love.

First is a pretty sundress and sandals. It's simple and feminine.

Shorts and a button down. What better way to show off those tan stems?

White jeans and a colorful top. It's crisp, clean, and very chic.


Saturday, August 3, 2013

Registry

WHY IS COMPILING A LIST OF THINGS YOU WANT SO DIFFICULT?! Seriously though. Getting our wedding registry together has been pretty stressful. Yes, I realize how moronic and outwardly bratty that sounds. I really had no idea where to begin when selecting items for our registry. I knew I wanted to register at three places, which would allow for a range in prices. We decided on Williams-Sonoma, Macy's, and Crate & Barrel. I relied heavily on my Maid of Honor, my wedding planner/mother, and The Knot's Wedding Registry Checklist. A few things to keep in mind when registering:

Buy things you need and will use. Yes, the decorative crystal dog is nice to look at, but a serving platter might be more practical.

Let your groom be involved. My Darling Fiance did not have much of an interest in the registry because he was swamped with school and job hunting. So, I created our registry and asked him to look it over and then let me know if he wanted to add or delete items. He did. I made it easy for him to be involved and didn't get mad at him when he said that the $800 ivory throw was ridiculous... because he was right.

Pull inspiration from Pinterest, catalogues, and the websites of the stores at which you're registering.

Consider the care required with owning particular items. Yes, the brightly colored everyday china with gold trim is darling, but it's hand wash ONLY. Just don't even go there. Choose a classically beautiful china pattern that you can throw in the dishwasher after a long day.

Add more items than guests. Way more. That way, your guests will feel comfortable buying you a gift that is in keeping with their budget. Also, most stores keep your registry active for a year after your wedding {hello birthday and holiday gifts}.




Friday, August 2, 2013

Quotes Found In Literature


In my future big girl home, I plan to frame the following quotes and have them on display. Not sure where or what the finished product will look like, but I sense a craft coming on.

I'm imagining this in my bedroom in a small frame:


"People think a soul mate is your perfect fit, and that's what everyone wants. But a true soul mate is a mirror, the person who shows you everything that is holding you back, the person who brings you to your own attention so you can change your life. A true soul mate is probably the most important person you'll ever meet, because they tear down your walls and smack you awake." Elizabeth Gilbert, Eat, Pray, Love


I'm imagining this in a guest bedroom in a very large frame with large text:

"Now that you've come under our protective custody, we'll be unhappy with you if you need anything and don't ask for it, or if you get into trouble and don't holler." John Berendt, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil 

Thursday, August 1, 2013

People

If there are people in your life you find remarkable, tell them. Life is too short to think the world of someone and never tell them. One of my grade school teachers is battling courageously against cancer. He was the first teacher to tell me I did a great job on an exam (it was an essay, go figure) and he did so in front of the class (I assume to make me feel good by letting my peers know of my accomplishment). He was hysterical, brilliant, and unabashedly kind. I sent him a note to let him know he was in my prayers and how much his time here on Earth means to me. It shouldn't have taken me so long to let him know how much that moment meant to me, but we cannot look back and focus on the "coulda-shoulda-woulda". We can only move forward. Tell the people in your life you love them.