10.21.2014

Orlando Recap

Happy Tuesday readers!

Did y'all have a good weekend?

Mine was by far one of the most relaxing I've had in a long time and was just what I've been needing.

At one point during the weekend I went through pictures on my computer and realized I had never recapped my Orlando trip on the blog.  The beginning of August and dog days of summer seem so long ago now, but it is fun to reminisce.

As many of y'all know, 2014 has been a particularly tough year for me. Now that we are reaching the end of the year, things seem to be looking up.  August was a tough month, though, and I couldn't be more thankful for a friend like Angela.  I was having a particularly hard time and Bryce was leaving for a beach trip. I called Angela on a Friday, needing to escape, and we scheduled a trip for that Monday...just three days later!  It was a whirlwind of a vacay and Angela's kindness meant more to me than she realized.


My flight got in Monday night and our first stop was 407 Cafe. I had seriously been craving their crepes since my last visit and they did not disappoint!


Our first adventure during my trip was to Wekiwa Springs Park.  The park has natural springs for swimming and lounging, as well as places to kayak and canoe.

The water was so clear...simply gorgeous!



We packed magazines and enjoyed laying out and briefly dipping into the frigid water!


After that, we headed home, made some lunch and prepared for a visit to Winter Park. Winter Park is a community in Orlando with lots of cute shops, gourmet restaurants, and beautiful homes!  We started off with shopping along Park Avenue.  My favorite shops were Siegel'sViolet Clover, and of course, the Lilly store!

I swooned over the furniture in Lilly, 
even more than I did the clothes--how fab are those chairs!?

Lilly Loves Selfies
#BUYMELILLY

Shopping worked up an appetite, so we stopped at The Wine Room for a snack and beverages.  This place was so cool, y'all!  When you entered, you could prepay on a card that allowed you to sample wines all around the store.  You would swipe your card and then fill your glass according to how much you wanted (a taste, a small glass, or large glass).  The selection was impeccable and they also had a menu with lots of great small plate options. 



After walking around in the heat, 
the Francois Montand Ice Edition sparkling wine really hit the spot! 
We also munched on a pear and brie flatbread to tide us over 
until dinner with Angela's beau!


Our next stop was Hillstone for dinner. We chose to eat outside.  Angela and I both agreed that the menu was a bit limited and also pricey, but that the atmosphere made it worthwhile--this spot is all about the view, as you will see below:



The sunset over the water could not have been more beautiful!



The next day was my last day and we went out with a bang shopping at the Vineland Premium Outlets. You may remember from my first Orlando trip (post here), that Orlando has a Tory Burch outlet! I had restrained myself when we were in Winter Park the night before, because I knew I would want to splurge on some Tory!

I ended up buying a tan Reva Clutch, Leopard Revas (similar here), 
and an orange Simone Cardigan...all at outlet prices, no less!

I also had great luck at the J. Crew & Banana Republic outlets!

After outlet shopping, we had planned on going back into Winter Park for a boat tour, but an afternoon rainstorm changed our plans. We saw a movie instead and then Angela gave me her own tour of some of the fabulous Winter Park homes. Driving around and looking at houses is a favorite hobby of both of ours!

The picture doesn't do it justice, but this was my favorite house!

And, oooooh my, the Spanish moss!  
This scene was even more gorgeous because of the raindrops dancing on the lake!



Finally, we ended, our trip with dinner at Winter Park Fish Co. My one food request for the trip was to have some good seafood!


I was impressed to see that oysters from the James River in Virginia made the menu!



The seafood didn't disappoint, but these parmesan Old Bay mashed potatoes were actually my favorite part of the meal! I plan to try and recreate them at some point and will share the recipe if mine turn out to be as good!

With full bellies we headed home for one last night of girl talk before my early flight home in the morning.

There's nothing quite like best girlfriends, huh?

Finally, as a side note, I'm looking for suggestions.  We are going to be back in Florida next month for a wedding.  We will be staying in the Palm Beach/Jupiter area and are looking for suggestions of places to eat and things to do.  We will have both the rehearsal dinner and wedding, however, will need dinner one additional night and also ideas for brunch/lunch and fun activities.  Any and all recommendations are greatly appreciated!

Have a great day!

10.17.2014

Loving...

Happy Friday readers!

Have any fun weekend plans?

The biggest thing I have planned is some R&R and blog time!

Can you believe I have not read a single blog since before school started!?  That's 7 weeks away from all of your wonderful blogs!  I am excited to hopefully find some time this weekend, though, to kick back and enjoy blogs!

Today I am sharing a few of the things I have been loving lately!

First up is  my over-the-knee boots!  I mentioned ordering them here, but finally got the chance to break them out for date night on Wednesday!

I paired them with this Boohoo Dress (for under $30)!

Next up I am continuing to love Richmond Barre!

I have now been to more than 20 classes and am amazed by the differences I have seen in my body!  I didn't want to get any smaller, just to tone, and barre has provided the perfect workout for just that!

Ever since seeing Gone Girl last week, I am loving Rosamund Pike.  I think she is just so gorgeous and elegant, not to mention she rocked it in her role as Amazing Amy!


I am also loving this chic candle set!  With the holidays just around the corner I think it would make a perfect gift!


And finally, to end with an eCard, I am loving this one:


What are you loving lately?

Have a great day!

10.13.2014

Easy Hollandaise

Happy Monday readers!

I hope you are getting to enjoy the Columbus day holiday today!

Unfortunately, we have a teacher workday, so I'm at school, but it was certainly nice being able to leave early on Friday NOT having to be prepared for the kiddos today.

For today's post, I am sharing a recipe for an easy hollandaise sauce with you.

I'll start by saying that brunch just might be my favorite meal!

Because of that, I am excited to be sharing this oh so easy hollandaise with you.

Hollandaise is a part of many brunch staples, but I'll admit that before making this recipe, it intimidated me.  It seemed so "fancy."  I gave it a try for our Easter brunch months ago, though, and was surprised by just how easy a delicious hollandaise can be.

This asparagus with hollandaise was gone in no time at our family Easter brunch!

I started with Barefoot Contessa's recipe (found here) but modified it a bit.

Below you will find my slightly modified (and slightly lighter) version:

Ingredients
8 tbs (1 stick) butter
3 egg yolks
Juice from most of 1 lemon
1.5 tsp salt
0.75 tsp pepper
2 pinches of cayenne pepper

Directions
Melt butter in a small saucepan

Place the egg yolks, lemon juice, 1.5 tsp salt, 0.75 tsp pepper, and cayenne pepper in the jar of a blender.

Blend for 15 seconds.

With blender still running, slowly add the hot butter into blender, blending for 30 seconds, until the sauce is thick.

Add to your favorite recipe requiring hollandaise.

Done!
*This sauce can be left in the blender for up to 1 hour at room temperature.

I added this delicious and easy sauce to roasted asparagus, baked at 400F for ~15 min in olive oil and spices.

I can't wait to try it next in a recipe for eggs benedict!

If you haven't already, be sure to check out the pound cake recipe that Bryce made for Easter brunch, as well, here!

Have you ever tried to make hollandaise before?

What are your favorite brunch staples?

Have a great day!

10.09.2014

Puppy Fever

Happy Thursday readers!

This has been my best week yet since starting school and I am finally feeling like things are calming down and I am caught up (and even ahead)!  Fingers crossed this momentum keeps going.

Today's post is simple.  I am just providing a daily dose of cuteness.

You see, I have puppy fever...bad.  Bryce and I have been talking about becoming puppy parents for a while now, but have yet to take the plunge.

My birthday is coming up at the end of November, though, and when Bryce asked me to give him a wish list the words "A MILLIE!!!!!" were at the top of my list.  I want a puppy and I want to name her Millie. Bryce wants a him and if that's the end result, the name will be Finn. I don't think the puppy wish will be fulfilled as soon as my birthday, but a girl can dream, right!?






The plan is to eventually get a black lab. I'll take this one, please:

Sure does look like a Millie to me!

And of course, my Millie will have some fabulous accessories!

A cheery, bright dog bowl:


A collar like this for time at the Hunt Club with dad (aka Bryce):

I wonder if they could make one in pink for Miss Millie!?

And a collar like this for shopping with mom (aka me!):


And finally, an oh so chic dog bed for her beauty sleep:


Do you have a pup?

What breeds are your favorite?

Have a great day!

10.07.2014

Sunday Well Spent

Happy Tuesday readers!

I hope your week is off to a great start!

Mine is going okay, but I am still playing catch up after being out sick on Thursday.

Those who follow along on Instagram saw that Bryce and I spend the day in Charlottesville on Sunday. Between the start of school for me and lots of September work travel for him, it felt like we barely saw each other during the month of September and had spent little quality time just the two of us.  We decided a special day was in order and headed to Carter Mountain Orchard early Sunday afternoon. Neither of us had ever been apple picking before and it was definitely on the bucket list!


Apples of all varieties grow all along the side of the mountain.

As we first walked along, this was all we saw: Lots of apples up high and out of reach.

I'll admit, we even snapped this pretend picking picture, for fear we wouldn't find a single apple to pick!

Eventually, however, we struck gold!

Bryce found a Jonagold tree with lots of ripe apples ready for picking!


The apples were juicy and delicious!

I even managed to get a few that were down a little lower!

My Longchamp proved to be the perfect apple picking tote!



After picking some apples, we headed back up to the mountain to feast on some apple cider donuts!

The line was long, but the donuts proved to be worth the wait!

Not gonna lie, I said I only wanted 1, but ended up eating 3! They were so good and now I'm craving another as I write!

We also explored the country store before leaving:


It was obvious we were in Wahoo territory with an "Honor System" cider station!


I wish I had tried this Donut Peach Cider!

After stuffing our faces on donuts, we made our way to King Family Vineyards. King Family is one of my absolute favorites because of the gorgeous views and polo fields.


We started with a wine tasting...


And ended with my favorite, a Bellair Market picnic.  I sipped on the Merlot and Bryce had a glass of the Meritage.



It couldn't have been a more perfect day and we rode home feeling content and renewed!

Did you do anything fun this weekend?

Have you ever been apple picking or wine tasting?

What are your favorite Fall activities?

Have a great day!