Tuesday, July 30, 2013

A Wino Weekend

This past weekend was an absolute blast. Our friends, Laura and Justin came into town to spend a wino weekend with us. Justin and I met at Hopkins and became friends and then we quickly started a supper club trying out different Baltimore eats with our significant others. 

Our first night we took them to Cowfish. I know they thought it was a little odd, but they trusted us and left saying it was amazing. 

I highly recommend the ahi tuna nachos as an appetizer, the green monster burger, and the neon dion sushi roll. We rolled out of Cowfish and onto Vivace for dessert. 

Saturday, we started our wine trail beginning at The Vineyards at Southpoint. We enjoyed the tasting; however it was slightly disappointing that they don't grow all of their own grapes and only had a tiny vineyard for show. 

We loved the wine slushies. They were so refreshing as we sat outside on a deck overlooking a pond. 

Our  second stop was Cloer Family Vineyards, and we loved this place. It was exactly what we were looking for in a winery. It's a new family run and owned vineyard with a great tasting after which we bought two bottles and sat outside enjoying their vineyard, the neighbor cows, and a quiet pond. 

We loved spending the afternoon chatting about Justin and Laura's upcoming destination wedding. We're so excited to be on the invite list and cannot wait to get our tan and party on in Key West come April 2014.

Our two favorite bottles were the Matador and Isobella's Blush in case you head to Cloer soon.

I'm already looking forward to our next vineyard wine tasting with Justin and Laura. It's just the best enjoying a glass of wine, fabulous company, and a gorgeous afternoon outside.

After our delicious wine tasting, the Chef cooked this meal for our guests. He really does such a great job in the kitchen preparing and cooking for me. It's so nice having a husband who cooks! 

One thing I love about going to restaurants with Justin is that he always orders dessert. Since we didn't make any dessert to go with the Chef's gourmet meal, we went to Yard House for drinks and dessert. From the sampler, Justin and Laura raved about the apple pie, so I'll have to try it there next time.

Who knew a s'more brownie would be this big? We didn't. And we couldn't finish it either. The melting marshmallows were my favorite. 

We had such a great weekend spending time with the newly engaged couple. It was so much fun to hear about their upcoming wedding, hear Laura's ridiculous school stories, gossip with Justin about my old job, and just get to be with people we love.

We cannot wait for our next weekend together!

And after a weekend full of wine drinking, you'd think I would be tired of it right? ...no.

Sunday evening, I met three of my friends for our kindly named group the "knitting club". It started because one of us was going to learn to knit from another, but it's quickly turned into a drinks, appetizer eating, and chatting time.

For our second meeting of the "knitting club," we picked West End Wine Bar, which offered tapas and wine. It was delicious, and we'll be looking for a new spot for our next meeting. Any suggestions?

It was such a fabulous weekend full of fun and friends, just the way I like it.

Friday, July 26, 2013

high five for friday

This summer is absolutely flying by. Slow down summer. This week was a busy one at work, but let's be honest, when is it ever not busy when you're taking care of sick kids and their families? 

A few of my favorites this week have been: 

1. The Chef regularly makes scrambled eggs for us when he's home, but I started thinking about other types of eggs I like and decided to make sunny side up for myself after not one but all three day shifts this week. And I'm also really loving the Ezekiel bread that I found at Trader Joe's. 

2. I am so thankful to have had an incredibly nice patient's family this week. They made the world of difference in letting me care for their kid. I wish I could tell you more.

3. Every night this week, I have been so excited for the end of the day when I get to keep reading A Thousand Splendid Suns. You should put it on your list for the summer, and I'll have to share with you my most recent reads.

4. Back in April, I was in my friend, Brooke's wedding. Well, she was picked for "Say, Yes to the Dress Bridesmaids" and it was aired this past week. Pretty crazy. I'm so glad they picked her wedding to show clips of because it was a gorgeous beach wedding.

5. This is really taken from last weekend, but the Chef and I went on his 60+ person family reunion. For an introvert like me, it was incredibly overwhelming but his family is so sweet and fun. We met everyone for the weekend and one of the nights even got out for some drinks with the other young cousins. I wish we all lived closer because we had the best time!

Hope you have fabulous weekend plans! We cannot wait to see two incredible friends who are spending the weekend in Raleigh with us.

Happy Weekend!

Linking up with Lauren and Lindsey

Monday, July 15, 2013

weekend things

Monday has come way too fast this week. The weekend flew by with our move and running a few errands. We moved into our new place on Friday, and I'm in love with it already.

We loved having movers; however, they took twice as long as they quoted us. And believe me, we don't have that much stuff or furniture. Oh well. At least my in-laws came through town and helped us so much with unpacking and putting away items.

1. Aida wasn't thrilled about sitting in the passengers seat. She hates car rides and will only tolerate it if she's on the passenger side down on the floor board. What dog doesn't like to ride in cars? 

2. We love being so close to restaurants and tried a new one for lunch on Saturday with our friends, Allison and Jarod. Both Allison and I tried the Hawaiian Mules: pineapple, vodka, and ginger beer. It was delicious and so refreshing, and I highly recommend it. 

3. Chaos. We've been reorganizing and finding new spots for items. The Master bath is challenging because it has open shelves so everything has to be neat. Eek. But I think I can make it work. 

4. Zoes and wine. We had a relaxing Saturday evening after unpacking, organizing, and running errands. 

The only to-do's left on my list now are the curtains. We had huge windows in our last apartment and massive ones in this one. 

Oh and I'm still working on the guest bedroom re-do. I have plans and will hopefully find items soon because we're going to have friends and family coming to see us soon, and we want to be ready. 

What did you enjoy this weekend? 

Linking up with Shami and LeeAnn

Friday, July 12, 2013

high five for friday

This week has been a busy one, but today we're finally moving into our new apartment! I'm excited to be in a new location of Raleigh and start exploring it more. 

Here are some of my favorites this week: 

1. I don't know what you're hair is doing this summer, but mine is growing like crazy. Seriously, my stylist asked me if all I do is eat vitamins. My roots were out of control when I went to see her on Wednesday. Seeing Tracy was treat, she is hilarious, gives me a great cut and highlight, and this time I enjoyed a glass of wine and a hand/arm massage. It was heaven and perfect after three night shifts.  

2. Remember how I love the book 7: A Mutiny Against Excess? Well, the Summit has been doing a women's book club and discussing it (you can home if you're interested: go here). I was going to meet a friend for supper before but it fell through, so I enjoyed a relaxing bite at Foster's Market before heading to the book club. It was delicious! I highly recommend the Tarragon chicken salad.

3. The Chef and I text pictures like this one back and forth to each other week every week showing what Aida is doing during the day. She makes every so much better.

4. We're ready for the movers to arrive this morning! It's always bittersweet moving, and this year is no different. While we're so excited to be in a new area of Raleigh, we're sad to leave the best floor of neighbors. We've never lived in an apartment where we spent time with our neighbors, and this past year has been such a blessing to live close to three couples who are great.

5. I forgot a photo, but I drove to the outlets yesterday and stocked up on a few pairs of JCrew shorts. They are on sale, so run to the outlet or shop online while they last. And next week, their new collection comes out...I may be heading back again soon.

Happy Weekend!

Linking up with Lauren and Lindsey

Thursday, July 11, 2013

On Moving

We're moving...again! 

It seems to have become a tradition for me to move every summer. I thought that was just a college thing. This will be my 8th move in 8 years, and the Chef's and my 4th apartment together. Thankfully, this year it's an in-town move.

Here are some tips for packing up your life every summer.

1. Clean out your closet before you start packing. In past summers, I've waited until I was packing the boxes to clean out, but it creates such chaos. Purge your closet early and get those bags off to goodwill or a clothing swap.

2. Start packing early. Relieve the stress of the day-before by starting a week ahead of time. Yes, it stinks to live with boxes, but it's so much less stress. For this week of work, the Chef pre-made lunches and dinners on Sunday and then left out one bowl, paper plates, and one skillet to cook eggs.

3. Over estimate the amount of boxes you'll need. We've underestimated in the past and have had to make multiple, last minute trips to U-Haul for packing supplies.

4. Lastly, if it's an affordable option, get movers! Tomorrow will be our first time with Two Men and A Truck Movers, and we're so excited to have them move all the heavy boxes and furniture. This move should be the smoothest yet. And hopefully, our next move will be a more permanent one: to a house.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Cranberry Pistachio Bites

Remember when I started making energy bites? Well, I haven't stopped making them since. Every week it's slightly different but similar to that recipe. 

I wanted a new twist and found these on Pinterest: cranberry pistachio energy bites. They definitely did not disappoint. You should add these ingredients to your grocery list and try them this week.
The only change I made to her recipe is I used dark chocolate chips instead of white. 

I love energy bites and the fact that I know every ingredient that goes into them. Plus, they have saved us money because I don't purchase energy or protein bars anymore for our lunches. 

Linking up with Jessica and Ashley

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Better Life Bags

Remember when I told you about Better Life Bags? Well, they are having a 4th of July sale! You should head over and pick out a new bag. I'm in the process of designing mine.

Disclaimer: Better Life Bags has no idea who I am, I just wanted to share this with you because I think it's a great bag and amazing cause. 

European Vacation: London part 2

Back to our European tour...

Our second morning in London, we enjoyed a lovely walk to Buckingham Palace in the crisp but not rainy weather.

Buckingham Palace was pretty but honestly I was slightly disappointed. I thought that it would be more magnificent especially compared with my idea of a palace (wait until I share Versailles and Hofburg with you). It just didn't wow me, but we still enjoyed the experience. 

As we were walking away from Buckingham, we saw the cavalry heading to do changing of the guard. We followed them and enjoyed the tradition of seeing the changing. 

The horses and guards put on quite the show for us and the place was buzzing with tourists and activity. 

Yes, I even jumped in front of other people to get my picture taken with this guy. As you can tell, I was extremely excited about the opportunity and to be with the gorgeous horse. Always a horse lover here. 

We walked downtown London to our hearts content before getting on our river cruise (included in our Original London Tour pass). We cruised down to the Tower of London.

Originally, I had planned to purchase the London pass, but we quickly realized that London's sites were more spread out, and we wouldn't have enough time to hit at least three sites to make it worth the purchase. So, we chose to do the Tower of London which included a Beefeater tour as well as a tour of the Crown Jewels. I'm so glad this was our choice because we got a great history of the tour and enjoyed the day there. 

After our tour, we headed to a highly recommended dinner spot called Kettner's in the theater district before seeing Wicked. Our food was beyond delicious, the service was amazing, and the atmosphere unique. It was a flappers era restaurant with plush chairs, roaring 20s music, and a fun cliental. 

The first time we saw Wicked was in DC when my MIL got us tickets two years ago. We absolutely loved the show and have made ourselves see other shows since then but have been dying to see Wicked again. We couldn't help ourselves when we saw it was showing in London. Our seats weren't as good but the show was phenomenal. 

Before we knew it, our time in London was over and we were off to Vienna! Home sweet home for me. 

Friday, July 5, 2013

beers, brats, burgers, and bikinis

Happy belated 4th of July!

We celebrated a fabulous July 4th with our neighbors and friends. This was the first time in five years that I haven't been at the hospital, so it was a welcomed holiday away from patients.

I got home from night shift and took a long nap before the Chef and I got a text from our neighbor Kyle telling us to get to the pool for "Beers, brats, burgers, and bikinis."

We spent the afternoon poolside with our neighbors and a friend from work, soaking up the sun together.

After getting our fill of sun, we pulled out Kyle's grill and cooked burgers, Wisconsin brats, and veggie skewers.

We stuffed ourselves before heading to a nearby parking lot where we spread a blanket, and Aida watched her first fireworks.

Then it was one last trip down to the pool for drinks and hot tub time.

It was definitely an amazing July 4th with the best neighbor! I'm so thankful for the holiday away from the hospital, friends, and great weather to enjoy such a fun holiday.