Archive for July, 2013

Food: Bridal Shower noms

This past weekend, I was in full party planning mode. It was finally time to put all my skills to the test as I hosted a bridal shower for 30 people. I was stressed to say the least and I was exhausted after driving 5 hours to North Carolina and preparing all the foodies on minimal sleep. But everything flowed and the bride-to-be had an amazing day. I was so overwhelmed that I only managed to snag one pic of the special lady and her future sister-in-law before all the guests arrived, at the Bellini bar, of course:


But, I did manage to capture all the foodie noms to share with you. I have to admit, I was really proud. A lot of the items you’ve seen before and a few are new, but all are crazy simple. So if you need a few party nom ideas, here you go:


The dining table was pretty much the holy grail of tasty treats, click through for a few of the recipes:

Everything else above is pretty self-explanatory, pinching some of the ideas from other bloggers or Pinterest. Probably the cutest was the Peanut Butter Spoons which featured mini chocolates to give you a mouthful of delight.

Any in case your mouth wasn’t watering already, another view of the Haystacks and PB Spoons; plus close-ups of the Caprese Salad Sticks and Strawberry Shortcake Cupcakes.


But no Southern bridal shower is complete without…Deviled Eggs! 48 to be exact, minus the few missing that had already been nommed. And of course, cheese, crackers, chips, and snack mix.


And no matter how good the food is, don’t forget simple party decorations. We’re not fancy, so I opted for streamers and balloons. It all just worked for me and the bride-to-be loved it too which made it worth the effort and the stress.


She said, and I quote, “This has been the best bridal shower I’ve ever been to!” It could have been the Bellini bar or the fact that we all went to a winery after for a tasting, but I have to admit as well, it was the best I’d ever been to as well! 🙂

Stay tuned for pictures from the wedding this coming weekend, which starts August’s adventure of 2 wedding extravaganzas!


Weekend review: Race day

As part of my 2013 goals, I was determined to prove to myself (and others) that I had a working knee. I mean, I knew I did, but I wanted a race under my belt to really show that I could do it…I could run! So last Saturday, I participated in the Lozilu 5K, a women’s only mud run.

Despite a few negative Nancy’s (on my team) bailing last minute and having to wait 20+ minutes to hop over/under/through some of the obstacles, I officially completed the race. It certainly wasn’t the most brilliant race I’ve ever run and the lack of organization tried my patience to no end, but a few unexpected laughs made the day at least a little bit fun.

I randomly bumped into one of the girls I play camogie with and we ended up combining our teams and running together which, in truth, made it a lot more fun than it would have been. She had a water/shock-proof camera and took loads of pics throughout the race, but I haven’t had a chance to snag them off her, so here’s one I pinched from the official race site – pre-mud, of course.


So, yes, that’s officially another item crossed off the goal list. It wasn’t pretty, but it’s been done.

Weekend review: Up, up, and away

This past July 4th weekend has to be one of the best of the summer (so far). I could tell you about fireworks or being lazy by the pool, but that’s not why this weekend was so special.

On Sunday, BF and I knocked an item off my Before I turn 30 bucket list and went on a hot air balloon adventure over the Shenandoah Valley (that’s in VA). We also took the time to honor a friend lost a year ago, by getting a little closer to heaven.

I’ll warn you there are a lot of pictures, but seriously, I couldn’t help myself. I needed to share them. Sit back, relax, and enjoy.

BF caught snooping on the first balloon. It was just as exciting to see them getting everything ready.


After they’ve blown air (from giant fans) into the balloon, they fire that baby up. Literally, they use the fire and heat inside the balloon to tilt the basket and balloon into the upright position.


And they’re off. Check out the sun creeping over the trees. Did I mention it was 6 AM?


And then came our balloon. I was a little less impressed, namely because of the patch repairs that were quite visible in a few spots. But hey, you get what you’re given. And of course, it was totally safe.


Inside and all fired up! Fun fact, they have to burst the flames while you’re getting in to keep the basket on the ground. It makes for an awkward experience for a klutz like me. Fire, falling into baskets, yeah you see where I’m going.


And then we were flying, just past 6 AM.


And this is what happens when you give your camera to someone else in the basket and try to get a ‘couple’ shot. You may notice a hint of OMFG in my face. That’s because I kind of forgot about my fear of heights.


My fears diminished significantly after about 10 minutes. It also helped that the pilot kept us at varying altitudes. We were at tree level for some of the time and even said hello to the couple coming out of this house. Their dog went nuts, likely trying to figure out how he could catch that big balloon in the sky.


In total, we probably spent 45-50 minutes in the air. Plenty of time for BF (and me) to relax. I kind of caught him off guard with this photo, but I know he was thinking about his best friend.


And then he snatched my camera and took a picture of some cows. Farm boys, eh?


And then this one, of moi.


So I had to reciprocate. Isn’t it gorgeous out there? He’s pretty cute, too.


And last, but not least. If you’ve made it this far, here’s your reward. Hands down, without a doubt, the best photo of the day. That’s the first balloon that took off, probably around 6:30 AM, heading towards the sunrise.


ps. this was also my July adventure putting the count to 7 of 12! You can see all the others here.

Life: Normal by 30

I just stumbled across this article on Refinery 29 titled ‘Weird Things That Start Happening In Your 20s And How To Deal’ or rather ’10 things that will seem normal by the time you’re 30′.

I’m a sucker and I clicked because I wanted to know, am I normal? Their list included things like:

  • Your friends start making more money than you.
  • You can’t sleep in anymore.
  • You will find yourself engrossed in food and health magazines.

I lol’d at a few of them because they are so true now that I’m on the cusp of 30, but #10 on their list shocked me. Not because I didn’t already know it was true, but because it validated all my feelings that I’ve had for the past 2 years.

10. Time starts going by much, much faster.
Even if your job drags and you keep having bad days, it’s somehow always the end of a weekend and your birthday seems to be just around the bend every single year. You’re busy now, doing grown-up things. You’re paying bills, doing laundry, cooking dinner that doesn’t originate in a box, catching up with friends you haven’t seen in months, planning getaway weekends by the beach, working your ass off, and putting in extra hours, making sure you still call your parents, making room for a love life; girl, you are furiously multitasking through life, and you might not even realize it. So, stop. Put that phone down. Your deadline can wait five more minutes. Find a quiet place where you can sit cross-legged. Grab a piece of notebook paper and write down 10 things that you love about life. Savor them, because they’ll pass you by if you let them.

Sometime in my 27th year of life, I had an epiphany (and a small meltdown) that every year was picking up speed. It was all flying by and while I was enjoying it, it was just happening too fast. I tried to rationalize why I was feeling it all now because every day was just as long as the one before, but I couldn’t and it drove me nuts. So I did what any over-achieving 27 year old would do. I came up with a motto and then tried to do everything I ever wanted to do. I tried to DO MORE. And just like that, 2011/2012 became my year of doing more. Feeling more. Loving more.

There were fun adventures like flying a plane…


And visiting one of my best friends in Seattle…


And falling in love all over again…


Then 2013 rolled around and I didn’t just want to ‘do more’. I wanted to cross big goals off my list to challenge myself; so my motto went from DO MORE to ‘Never let your fear decide your fate’ and with that I set off on tackling some big adventures; namely traveling again, but more on that later.

Time still flies, especially when you’re having fun or making plans or some other old cliche that gets thrown in with getting older. So maybe I will take the time (and Refinery 29’s advice) and share 10 things I love about life, because why shouldn’t I? Isn’t that what this blog is for? And we all know how much I love a countdown!

I love…

  1. My relationship with my mom. It’s stronger than ever.
  2. That I’m finally figuring out what will make me professionally happy and working towards those goals.
  3. That my sisters are having babies and I get to be a part of those little lives.
  4. That I don’t give up on dreams, but understand they might change.
  5. That I have really supportive friends who I can text or call in a heart beat.
  6. That I’m crossing things off my yearly goal list and my big bucket list!
  7. That I’m writing again. Still keeping my Happiness Project going every day!
  8. My relationship with my BF. Best friend doesn’t even begin to describe it.
  9. That I’m reading more and that I get excited to talk about books with people, even if it is The Hunger Games or 50 Shades of Grey
  10. My dirty little secrets that make me unique (just like everyone else) and allow me to not take everything too seriously, because Kimye is a big deal to me!

So will I be normal by 30? I don’t know, but I guess finding out will be half the adventure.


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