Rivah Birthday Celebration

Happy Friday y'all!

I know I seem to say this in every post now, but I really don't know where the week went!  This week especially flew by but I don't mind because I have a super fun weekend planned!

This past weekend was also a great one--Bryce turned 25 on Sunday so we went to the river (aka RIVAH) to celebrate!

*Warning:  Prepare yourself for a fun-filled, picture heavy post!!*

We packed our bags and headed out early Friday afternoon.

CWC's house was pink and green perfection!

All throughout the house were the perfect nautical touches:

This bucket full of koozies came in handy over the course of the weekend!

I absolutely LOVED these monogrammed, bamboo director's chairs!


This proved to be the perfect reading nook!

The view was impeccable.

Once we poured some drinks, we decided to explore a bit...

Life is DEFINITELY better on the River!

As we explored, Hurricane Irene's destruction became evident.

Bryce and I went through a long photo shoot in hopes of snapping a good picture.  Let's just say he had a little too much birthday spirit in him to focus!  I do like this this one, though!



This is what life on the rivah is all about!

That night we enjoyed a delicious  meal cooked by our wonderful host, CWC.

We had burgers, twice baked potatoes, and grilled asparagus!

After a  yummy meal and a few more drinks we all hit the sack!  The next morning I made my hash brown quiche for breakfast and we also enjoyed mimosas, fruit, and banana bread!

YUM! I will have to share this recipe sometime!

Our main event of the day Saturday was heading to the nearby town of Urbanna in search of Bryce's beloved oysters.  

We found lots of evidence of oysters, but weren't able to find anyone to sell them to us!

Later that afternoon it rained and I thought it was the perfect time for an afternoon snooze...

Bryce obviously had other plans!

After prying me off the couch, we did a little fishing!  

CWC and Bryce have been friends since kindergarten...I guess all I can say is that boys will be boys!

gorgeous afternoon on the water

I was the winner of the day catching two catfish!

That night, Bryce and I headed back to Urbanna to have dinner just the two of us.  We also enjoyed a nice walk through the charming small town afterwards.

Sunday morning we said goodbye to the river and headed to brunch at Something Different.

It was the coolest little restaurant and shop--the chairs were stacked crates with cushions on them!

I enjoyed a bacon, egg, and cheese croissant with cold lemonade (served in a mason jar, of course!).

Sunday when we got back, I gave Bryce his present:  an oyster themed gift basket (detailed post coming soon!) and that evening we went to a birthday dinner at Brio with his parents.

Oyster Lover with his Oyster Basket!

Getting ready to make a 25th birthday wish!

All in all, it was a good weekend spent with good people!

What did you do last weekend?  Any fun plans for this weekend?  Any memorable birthdays you'd like to share?

Have a great Friday and weekend!!


Old Navy, Oh La La!!!


How were your weekends?  Mine was absolute perfection...I was able to spend some special time with my parents and also had a lot of fun attending Shamrock the Block with girlfriends on Saturday.


It was VERY hot in the bars, so SEG got resourceful and used a shamrock decoration as a fan!

And now onto today's post...have  any of y'all been in Old Navy lately?  My mom, CJE, and I did a bit of spring shopping yesterday and I was THRILLED by all that I found at Old Navy!  I've always liked their clothes, but they've really upped their game and had so many cute things!

Here's a look at what I got:
This shirt is about as close as I'll get to embracing the neon trend of the season!

These look SO cute paired with the striped tee above!

The picture does not do this shirt justice--it is such a flattering cut and the colors (blue and yellow- one of my favorite color combos) are much more vibrant in person!

This dress is oddly similar to a certain J. Crew dress I recently tried on and is 1/2 the price of J. Crew's sale price!

CJE also found a bunch of new cute tops and even found one in the clearance section for $0.47!!!  Yes, you saw that right--it cost a mere 47 pennies!

I'm also starting to notice a certain shopping trend...

Stripe much?

Have you been in Old Navy lately?  Any good recent shopping finds?  What trends do you notice in your wardrobe?


What A Year...

Hello sweet friends!

Today we have reason to CELEBRATE over here at Sundresses and Smiles!  It's my blog's first birthday!  Sit down with a pretty piece of pink cake and stay awhile!  This LONG, special post is dedicated to YOU...my wonderful, dedicated readers!

On March 15, 2011 I published my very first post ever.  I was anxious, giddy, nervous, and excited!  Little did I know on that day, what the year ahead and blogging had in store for me.

Over the course of the year A LOT has happened in my life and the blog has served as a journal and way to share myself with the world.

Since March 15, 2011...

  • I started a blog and named it Sundresses and Smiles
  • I finished my four years as an undergraduate at THE University,
  • I moved home for a fun-filled summer with The Cuties
  • I met a boy...
  • ...and FELL IN LOVE!
  • I had my first (of hopefully many) bloggy meet-ups with Claire of Life in the Sweet Virginia Breeze
  • I made a blog Facebook page...please click here and "LIKE" it!!
  • I began student teaching and survived an earthquake during the second week
  • I realized blogging 5x a week might not be realistic in my post-college life,
  • I've made wonderful new friends and figured out ways to stay in touch with the old ones that now may be far away.
  • I was accepted into Teach for America, but realized, that my heart and home are in Richmond, VA
  • I joined and became obsessed with Pinterest.  (Check out my pins here!)
  • I've graduated with my Masters of Teaching.
  • I've made a blog best friend (stop by and say hi to Maddie at spark.)
  • I've witnessed my aunt's struggle and triumph over colon cancer (she still has a road ahead, but surgery was successful and the doctors said chemo is not necessary!!!)
  • I've begun substitute teaching and figured out what schools and grades might be the best fit for me,
  • I've begun the grueling and scary application process for a job in the fall
  • AND...I've written 213 posts about books, crafts, my shopping addiction, favorite recipes, Africa, children, my life and more!
But, what has been so special about this last year, is that I've had a whole new support network throughout all of these life events.  I've known that each of you is behind me and there for me.

You are what keeps me coming back for more, even these days when I rarely find time to blog.  You have made me smile, made me laugh, made me cry, and taught me A LOT.

In honor of this blogoversary I thought I would share an assortment of my favorite posts.  Y'all know I h ave trouble picking favorites, so it's quite the long list.  Some of you may be new to the blog, so check out some of the old posts you've missed.  Others have been here from the start and may remember these.  Scroll down my list of favorites--I hope that each of you will be able to find one (or FIVE) new posts you hadn't yet read and ENJOY!

Check out my very first introductory post, "Welcome" by clicking here!

Cycle is one of my all time favorite workouts but it can be intimidating at first...for an introductory guide, check out "Cycle 101" by clicking here.

Of all my book reviews, Firefly Lane still takes the cake--this book will change your life.  Read my review by clicking here!

I fully believe in making the best of what life throws your way, and throughout the last year I have looked back on this post many times to remind myself of my optimism during some of the tough times.  Checkout "Divine Intervention," by clicking here!

All you Southerners out there LOVED this post "Fabulous Front Porches."  Click here for some front porch eye candy!

Those of you that are new since the summer, probably have NO IDEA who the Cuties are--to learn about my two favorite kids, "Meet Cuties A and B" by clicking here.

I'm a huge fan of Self magazine and I shared an article that particularly stuck with me in this post "On Friendship."  Read it by clicking here.

If you're in need of a good laugh, check out "A 'Wow' for your Wednesday" by clicking here.

Read about the "Balancing Act" I, as well as many other women, face when trying to juggle our many roles and achieve perfection.  This is one of my proudest posts and I think it's a "must read!" Click here.

I still salivate over the thought of this "Italian Sausage and Wild Mushroom Risotto", check out one of the favorite recipes I've shared by clicking here.

New to blogging?  Check out my "Tips for New Bloggers" by clicking here.

To see the true blonde in me and get a good laugh read about "The Time I (Almost) Burnt the House Down" by clicking here.

Sunshine, cute Kids, beautiful flowers and wildlife...What more could you want!? To see a look at one of my favorite summer outings at one of my favorite Richmond spots "Maymont" click here.

In a crafty mood? Check out the perfect summery DIY wreath, here!

To relive one of my FAVORITE first dates with Bryce, check out my "Checklists" post by clicking here.  (FYI--We're still working on the list!)

To see what makes the Cuties so special and GOOFY, meet "The Diaper Heroes" by clicking here. (Interestingly enough, this innocent post is the one that has gotten the most negative/deletable comments!)

To see a really special day I had with my dad, uncle, and cousin on the water, check out "Here Fishy, Fishy..." by clicking here.

Bryce and I can manage to turn anything into an adventure.  To see how we survived Hurricane Irene, click here.

For one of my more frivolous, fun posts, check out my "Birthday List", here.

To take a picture walk through one of my favorite fall Saturdays, check out "Pumpkin Patching" here.

Interested in reading one of my proudest posts?  Check out this book review of A Long Way Gone from the "African Aspirations" series by clicking here

Any cookie monsters out there?  Check out this "WORLD'S BEST CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES"  recipes by reading here!

In "Thankful" I took some time to be gracious and acknowledge all I have to be thankful for--click here.

Bryce and I held our first annual Christmas Party in December--read about our "Fabulous Christmassy Weekend" here!

If you lived in Richmond and were able to shop at "Shops at 5807" you would understand my shopping addiction, look here!

When I started blogging a year ago, I wasn't much of a wine girl.  Over the course of the year I've learned to enjoy wine and have acquired a taste for white and (some) red wines.  To see a weekend visit to "Rosemont Vineyards and Winery" read here.

If you've read for a while, you know that my design style (and fashion style) is traditional with pops of modernity, bright colors, and bold prints.  To see the epitome of this style check out the "Lucite Bamboo Chair" I'm still drooling over here!

For a peek into my Valentine's Day with Bryce, read my "Heart Day Recap" here!

WOW! That was A LOT of posts--y'all know I'm horrible at picking favorites!  Are you still with me?  Do you have any favorite posts of mine?  How has blogging enriched your life?  

Thanks again for a wonderful first year of blogging---HERE'S TO MANY MORE!



The GREAT Things

Happy Hump Day chickies!

I apologize for my blogging absence...I've found myself feeling guilty over my lack of blogging, as well as blog reading, but at the same time--I've been so busy living LIFE that I've had little time to blog about it.  Tomorrow is my blogoversary and I'm planning a special post for it.  In the meantime I'd like to share some of the little things that have been going on in my life today.  I entitled this post "The GREAT Things" because let's face it--it's the little things in life that make it great, so why not refer to them as the GREAT things!

Without further adieu, here's a peak into some of the little things that have been making my life GREAT!

Dinner this weekend at one of our favorites, Bellytimber.
I love this "DIXIE INN" sign they have on the wall!


New tennishoes, courtesy of my mother!
If you look closely, there's some glitter on the lattice design--every girl needs some sparkle, even at the gym!

Green and Gold St. Patty's Day Candy on the coffee table!

This Richmond magazine Bryce surprised me with the other night, just because...

A little pink and green popping up as the first sign of spring!

Mason Jars at Comfort.

Beautiful weather that even makes yard work enjoyable!

What little things have made you life GREAT lately?


EASY Chocolate Mousse Cake

Happy Tuesday loves!

Hope your weeks are off to a fabulous start!  I had a much needed relaxing weekend--most weekends I plan to relax, but somehow end up busy.  This weekend, however, I actually said "NO, thank you!" to a few friends' invites to go out on the town and was happy I did.  I fell asleep by 10 pm each night and really needed the sleep!  I've had the last two days off and it's been nice to sleep in a bit and get some things done!  Today, I am finally sharing the recipe for the chocolate mousse cake I made for our Valentine's Day dessert (see post here).

So without further adieu..here goes!  When it comes to cooking (or life in general), I think there are times when it is important to take your time and work on something for hours, days, or even weeks at a time.  I also think there are times when it is important to take a short cut and give yourself a break! On Valentine's Day, this is what I did!  I had accepted a half day subbing job at the last minute for the morning of February 14, which left much less time to get all my Valentine's tasks done (Bryce's "52 Things I Love About YOU!, Chocolate Covered Pretzels, and Dessert).  That being said, I decided it was time to take some shortcuts, but still pour a lot of love into my dessert.

Bryce is a chocolate lover, so I knew something rich and decadent was necessary.  I had made an easy chocolate mousse years ago, but had since, lost the recipe.  I decided to search Pinterest to find a new easy recipe.  As I was scrolling through the search results, I ogled over pictures of gorgeous layered chocolate mousse cakes.  Some had layers of white, milk, and dark chocolate mousses, others had layers of cake, cream, and mousse.  I was smitten by these cakes and knew I had to figure out an easy way to create one of my own.

First I found an easy chocolate mousse recipe, here, from the Stone Soup blog.

3 oz dark chocolate, broken into small chunks
10 fl oz whipping cream
1 T confectioner's sugar
1 t vanilla extract
A pinch of salt

All of the cake ingredients!

1. Place about 1 inch water in the base of a medium saucepan and bring to a boil.  Remove from the heat.

2. Place a heatproof bowl on the saucepan and check to make sure the base isn't touching the water.  Add the chocolate chunks and leave for about 5 minutes to melt, stirring occasionally.

This is such a good trick for melting chocolate, which I had never learned before!

3.  Meanwhile, whip cream with confectioners sugar and vanilla until soft and fluffy (making sure that it is not too firm).

Soft and Fluffy!

4.  Add the chocolate to the cream and fold through.  Refrigerate.

Chocolate Added

Folding it In!

Ready for the fridge!

*This chocolate mousse really was easy--the toughest part was whipping the cream, just because my arms got tired!*

And now for the SUPER easy parts!

In the meantime...I baked an easy Betty Crocker boxed cake mix.  Once that was finished baking and cooled, I cut two large pieces.  I decided that the best way to present this dessert was in individual wine glasses.  I put a piece in the bottom of each glass and used my fingers to mold it into the bottom.  I then used a wet paper towel to clean and crumbs left on the inside of the glass.

1st Layer:  Box Mix Chocolate Cake

Next, I added in the mousse:

2nd Layer:  Homemade Chocolate Mousse

Once I got to Bryce's I added the third layer:  Cool Whip Lite!

3rd Layer:  Cool Whip Lite

As a final touch, I garnished with red lip sprinkles and mini chocolate chips!

Kissy Lips and Chocolate Chips to Garnish!

This dessert was a huge hit with Bryce.  For me, it was a bit rich, and I'd like to experiment using milk chocolate with the recipe in the future.  I also think you could mix it up with different delicious layers, like a peanut butter cream or fruit filling.  Finally, it was definitely more than we could eat--we only ate about half of it, so I'd say this recipe could easily feed 4-6 people!

Are you a chocoholic?  Do you believe in taking shortcuts when cooking or always going the full homemade route?

And now for a few side notes...

Check out the Sundresses and Smiles Facebook Page, by clicking here!  I've really been working to spruce up the page and have added a "What I'm Reading..." photo album with books I've read lately and a few lines sharing what I thought about them.  I'm hoping for it to be an Open Forum, where YOU, my readers, can comment with book suggestions and your own opinions about the books.  So head on over, check it out, and like it!

Finally, don't forget I'm trying to reach a goal of 500 followers by my first blogoversary, March 15--just NINE days away!  I've been so busy lately that I haven't been as active with the blog, but I still think I can attain this goal.  Spread the word and if you're a usual reader that hasn't yet followed, go ahead and do it!  If you're new, and like what you see, follow!  If I make this goal I will put together a special giveaway for my blogoversary!

Have a terrific Tuesday!