Thursday, September 27, 2012

I'm Official.

Last month I introduced you to my friend and blog mentor Darby over at Life With The Hawleys. If you missed that post you can catch up by reading it here. Every once in awhile Darby will post about meet ups that she attends with local bloggers in her area. They go to fun events, try new restaurants, go to local shops, do blogger networking things, etc. {Insert whiny voice here} I wanna go toooooo! The problem is that Darby lives in Texas. Not happening.

So, I put my big girl panties on and decided to find my own network of local bloggers. I love the support, friendship, and new ideas and growth that come from these groups and I really wanted the opportunity to participate in one. In order to find a local network I did the first thing that came to mind--a Google search. It solves so many problems. One of the first hits was a website called Virginia Is For Bloggers. Well, hello new friends! I was so excited to find this amazing resource for Virginia Bloggers. There is a blog roll categorized by area of the state, and I was super excited to see a long list of Richmond VA bloggers! There is also a section on the website for upcoming blogger events--just what I have been looking for!

In order to become a member of the site you have to submit your blog. Oh my. I was nervous. I have this brand new baby blog with a small amount of followers, and still growing confidence about who out there actually wants to read my random thoughts, and what am I going to write about anyway?! When I submitted my blog to Virginia Is For Bloggers I think I said something like "Not sure if my blog is up to par...but I'd love to join." I felt like I was back in middle school IMing a boy I had a crush on..."should I press send? Eek! I did it! Now I wait for a response..."

Well a few days later I got an email from the fabulous Liz at Virginia Is For Bloggers that I was a new member and I should add their button to my blog. Um, yes please! I even know how to add buttons now. Go me! If you visit the VABloggers page here you will see the list of bloggers around the state. I really encourage you to take the time and visit some of the blogs listed. I am still working my way through but I have discovered some awesome blogs and even "met" some new bloggy friends already. You might even see a little blog you recognize called A T-Shirt and Pearls in the Richmond section. And, 542,931 words later I get to the point...I'm official...a for real blogger (at least I think so...)!

And I heard a little rumor that there is a Richmond area bloggers meet up in the works for October. Yippee! I am so excited about this bloggy journey and meeting fabulous new people. Thanks for coming along with me. :)

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Just one of those days...

Don't worry, this isn't a downer has just been one of those fabulous days. I am snuggled in my coziest red flannel moose pajama pants (I got them on a family trip to Alaska several years can you leave Alaska without a pair of red flannel moose pajamas?! I mean really people...) drinking an Angry Orchard Hard Apple Ginger Cider (major yum, I love hard cider in the fall!) feeling really content and happy, and I just felt like I had to share. In thinking about all of the things that I am thankful for today I was reminded of this video from YouTube:

Did you ever see this when it went viral? I seriously love it. I think it is partly the kindergarten teacher in me, but kids just make me smile.

And for those of you who are insanely jealous of said red flannel moose pajama pants, below is a little peek in case you want to begin the search for your own. I already washed my face (=no makeup) and despite the fabulousness of my pajamas I am not looking too cute, so you only get a leg view...

Goodnight friends! 

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Wine and Cheese Please

Hi friends! It feels like forever since my last post even though its only been a few weeks. The first few weeks of school for a teacher, in kindergarten no less, are all consuming and exhausting. Two Fridays ago (the end of the first week of school) hubby went out with some friends for the evening (side note: they went to a new brewery in Richmond, Hardywood--have you been? Hubby loved it!), and I had no plans. Well, what's a girl to do on a lonesome Friday night? Prepare an indulgent meat and cheese "board" and open a good bottle of wine of course.

What a perfect end to a long and draining week. On my way home from school I first stopped at the library to get some good books (the perfect addition to a relaxing night on my own) and then I ran into the grocery store to get all the things I needed for my indulgent meal. I feel like I need to preface this with the fact that this was my whole dinner and there were possibly a few things left over?! Here is what I included:

  • Prosciutto 
  • Olives from the olive bar: mixed greek and blue cheese stuffed--my ultimate favorites are garlic stuffed and olives with red chilies (the dinky grocery store on my way home didn't have those kinds though...sad) P.S. I LOVE an olive bar. I mean LOVE. Sometimes that is my treat to myself at the grocery store--getting a tub of olives. It doesn't take much to amuse me. 
  • Warm french bread--I bought a mini loaf (perfect for one!) of the french bread you get in the bakery that is "pre-baked"--you have to put it in the oven for about 15 minutes to "bake" it. I like it because it gives you that warm fresh baked taste.
  • Dark chocolate bar with hazelnuts--any dark chocolate that has nuts or dried fruit in it would be delicious in my opinion
  • Baked brie with honey and pecans--Oh yummy! I LOVE brie!!! Just put your wheel of brie into an oven safe baking dish (I really want need a brie baker...hint hint, anyone?) and top with a drizzle of honey and some pecan chips. Bake at 400 degrees until the cheese starts looking ooey gooey (about 15 minutes). There are so many delicious options for baked brie so play around and find your favorite combination. 
Now, onto other important must be wondering what's in my wine glass! That is Viognier from Pippin Hill Farm. Viognier is know as Virginia's signature wine and this wine by Pippin Hill Farm lived up to its title. I discovered this fresh, fruity, crisp wine on a wine tasting trip with my mom back in June (thanks for buying me a bottle, mom!). Every few months we like to do a little "girls" trip and this last trip was to Charlottesville, VA where we did wine tasting at Pippin Hill, and then went to The Boar's Head Inn for spa treatments and an overnight stay complete with a lovely dinner. Here are some pictures from our trip to Pippin Hill:

After our wine tasting we had lunch on the patio overlooking the mountains. It was a perfect June day with cooler temperatures and bright sunshine. We had the cheese board and the charcuterie (I can never say that word correctly!)--ie. meat board. There were delicious homemade mustards, preserves, and spreads to accompany the meats and cheeses, and it all came with some delicious crusty french bread. Oh yummy! We had the most amazing time at Pippin Hill and I insist that you go give it a try. The atmosphere, food, wine, view, and service was all top notch. I can't wait to go back.

You can see all of my other wine and cheese ideas on my Wine and Cheese Please Pinterest board here. There are lots of yummy and fun ideas on there.

Well, I have gone off on a tangent as I usually do, so I will leave you with one last thought...

"There comes a time in the day that no matter what the question...the answer is wine."

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Happy Fall Ya'll

Happy first day of Fall! Yes, I know that technically the first day of Fall is not for a few weeks, but in my world (the only one that matters...haha, just kidding) it starts today. You see today was also the first day of school. So, for me the beginning of September and the start of school is all I really need to consider it Fall. I have had my fall Scentsy scents warming for a few weeks now, and I am just itching to get my decorations out. I think that is on the schedule for next weekend!

If you follow my blog or follow me on Facebook or Twitter, you may have caught on to the fact that I am slightly obsessed with Fall, I mean I only mention it 542 times. You might be wondering what I think is so fabulous about this season. Well, I have made my first attempt at one of those cute little posters you see floating around Pinterest to share with you some of things I love about the Fall.

What is your favorite thing about Fall? I know for tons of people it is the return of the Pumpkin Spice Latte to Starbucks. Embarrassing confession: I don't think I have ever had a PSL and if I have I don't remember it. There I said it. I feel like I am cheating on Fall by saying that. Don't worry, drinking a PSL is on the top of my Fall to do list this season. I have however, already had my first Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffin from Starbucks, which you must try if you have not is one of my Fall must haves. Make sure to check out my FALL in love Pinterest board for more Fall cooking and decorating ideas, as well as some fab printables I have come across!

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Butterfinger Blondies

In case you haven't caught on...I love to eat. Anything and everything. Really, there are not many things I don't like. I would like to grow up to be a foodie. I would like to plan a vacation around visiting amazing places to eat. I especially love sweets, and that's where Butterfinger Blondies come in. 

Butterfingers are hubby's favorite candy, and on one of our random occasions {when we had the urge to bake up something fattening and delicious} we decided to incorporate Butterfingers.These were super dangerously simple to make.

I started with a recipe for basic blondies that I got from Food Network and then I mixed in some crushed up Butterfingers and added more crushed Butterfingers on top before baking. That's it. 

Here is the blondie recipe from Food Network with a few of my changes:

  • 1 1/2 cups firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine salt 
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 six packs of fun size Butterfingers crushed into small pieces (I just used my hands to break them apart since they are so crumbly)
  • 2 full size Butterfinger bars crushed into small pieces
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Butter and flour a 9 by 13-inch glass baking dish.
Put the sugar in a large bowl. Melt the butter in the microwave. Stir the butter into the sugar until smooth, cool to room temperature.
Meanwhile, in another medium bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda, and salt together.
Beat the eggs and vanilla into the sugar mixture. Add the flour mixture a bit at a time and mix until a smooth thick batter forms. Mix in the 12 mini crushed Butterfingers.
Spoon the batter in to the prepared dish and spread evenly. Sprinkle the two full size crumbled Butterfingers on top of the blondies. Bake until the blondies are light brown around the edges and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 20 to 25 minutes.
Remove from the oven and let cool. Cut into squares and try not to eat the entire pan in one sitting. 

I would love to try these blondies with other mix-ins. What do you think would be good in this batter?
P.S. Please pardon my high-tech point and shoot photos. One day I'll tackle "real" photography, but until then my plate is full....with Butterfinger Blondies that is. ;)