29.4.14

St. Michaels, Maryland

I mentioned a few weeks ago about our trip up to Boston and how we stopped in a few quaint towns in Maryland. I adored St. Michaels from first glance. It is full of sweet buildings in vibrant colors and just dripping with an eclectic sense of character. Here are a few shots from our stop. We discovered two shops while there, American Holiday & Knotty Living. I will be writing about the two of them sometime next week. This was also where I met the author, Susan Reiss! Was such a fun experience 

I picked her book up, she signed it to me, which was fun. I was able to read it when we were at the hospital for my father in law. I thoroughly enjoyed the story and characters. Can't wait to tell you guys more. But for today, so that I don't over inundate you with too many pics, today is just snapshots of the town.  Sorry in advance that a few are different sizes, I had to steal some from my instragram;)














We enjoyed our short time in this sweet town and can't wait to go back and explore more in depth. I've heard that they have fantastic restaurants and amazing sea food. From the looks of the spots surrounding the harbor, I can only imagine. Plus, I really want to stay at The Snuggery bed and breakfast. Just because I may love that name.

28.4.14

Birthday {and} Drinks

This weekend flew by. And half of my pictures will involve cocktails and it will look like I threw way too many back, but I really didn't. I promise. Next week I will actually drinks more.  I got to see pretty much all of my favorite people this weekend and that always makes me happy. Getting to see my niece, Evie is fantastic, especially since I get to hold her instead of seeing her in the hospital.

Before I headed to Virginia, Tony and I went out to dinner and to see my cousin's husband play at a local bar. It was nice because he was playing right down the street from us and we didn't have to travel. Plus, I got my favorite wings and fewer things than that make me happy. They also were having $3.50 mason jar cocktails and you got to keep the glass. So obviously I didn't want to be rude and not get one. I am nothing if not sweet.



Saturday, I woke up and got ready for the two hour drive home. When I am by myself in the car and can take in the beauty on the back roads, I am always reminded of just how beautiful and area I grew up in. Especially in the spring. 

We had a get together that night for my dad and brother and I got to see my Evie girl. and then after my dad and I went out and had drinks. The Mexican place next to my parents always has insane drink specials. I was also entirely too stoked when I noticed they were selling raspberitas. I have been craving one and they had them for $1.50 and I ordered a mango margarita and then got the raspberita as a floater. Genius decision. on more than many levels.


When we stepped back in...my mom was what you may call jealous and so I made her a version of her own. and it wasn't bad for last second drink! Actually , it wouldn't be bad for a very much planned drink either. So, Kerry, I finally got them after you teasing me with your pics all week! 


Sunday I headed to church and then had an afternoon date with my oldest nephew. We rarely get to spend lots of time together by ourselves and we had such a great time. He is also 13 and towering over me. And I can't even take it!


25.4.14

Birthdays Here, There and Everywhere

I can't believe it is almost the end of April. I am not sure where the time has even gone. I am looking at my calendar and May through July is already almost booked up. And I have no complaints. Just more so incredulous as to how I blink and the time has passed!

1)March and April are our big birthday months. But April is what you may call back to back to back to...You get the hint. 

It starts on the 18th with my nephew Eli, then my cousin Justin on the 19th. My uncle Joe is the 20th. My dad is the 23rd. My mother in law is the 25th. Then my brother is the 27th and my brother in law is the 27th. Should this be when I also mention we are broke;) 

Happy birthday to you all! And today being the 25th, the momma in law in particular.

2) Berentzen has been one of my favorite companies to work with. They sent me a new wild cherry liquor this week to use in a recipe and they asked me to create a recipe for Perrier. With the most interesting combination of ingredients ever. I somehow did it. and can't wait to share. Here is a sneak peak in the meantime.



3) This coffee syrup may be my new favorite ingredient, I have already used it in cupcakes, cookies, cheesecake bites and pudding pops. Did I mention I am addicted?

4) The weather this week has been past phenomenally. 73-78 has been the average this week. Accompanied by sunshiney skies and my heart is more than content. I loved my trip to Boston last week, but snow in April is a little more than I bargained for. I got to take Jax to the park yesterday and we both had a great time. Not to mention, I made a new friend. 

5) This week is National Infertility Awareness Week. If you have followed my blog at all, then you may know a little about our ten year struggle. I have been writing for Fertility Authority for almost a year now and it has been so rewarding and I have met so many kindred spirits through these outlets. Here is my blog post for the week. And if you want to know more about my specific story, click here. If you are struggling yourself, please feel free to contact me. I would love to lend an ear.
Linking up with 5 on Friday, friday Favorites, Five For Friday, Hi Five, 

24.4.14

A Jaunt Through Princeton

Last week I mentioned how we had stopped in Princeton on our way up to Boston. It had been quite some time since we were able to walk through the town. I often stop in Princeton and park on trips to New York, leaving my car and taking the train to up to the city. But to really soak up 
the atmosphere and the campus had been entirely too long. 

The buildings are just so gorgeous and ornate, but the town itself is rather quaint and there is a bit of shopping to take in on your trip. I had forgotten how similar Duke's campus is to Princeton and at first, walking around, it was as if I was in Durham. But there are distinct differences and I loved pretty much everything I saw. The biggest differential is the history that belongs to Princeton. Being a history junkie, this is the most pleasing part. It is one of nine members of the Colonial Colleges. And for four months, Princeton was our nations capital. I mean...as far as I know, it's not designated a World Heritage Site like UVA is....but;) Wahoowa. 

Here are a few shots I was able to snap in our short hour long stop. If you have the chance, stop by the campus and check out one of the local joints for a quick bite!






This building is probably one of my favorites on the campus. And when I finally felt like I wasn't at Duke anymore. I love the stained glass and the colors of the brick. If I am correct, this is Alexander Hall.






 But when I came upon this building, my love was solidified. Nassau Hall When I conjure up images of a perfect village, this would be what the town hall looked like. Stores on both sides and this at the end of the town center. I am not even joking.  I love buildings encompassed by ivy almost as much as I love bourbon. But only almost.



I loved this view of the building through the structure out in front. 




21.4.14

On The Road Again

having been in Boston for a week, we are finally headed back home and we are doing the 11 hour drive straight through. Or so we say now. Depending upon traffic, we may stop over for a few hours to try and rest. This week has completely flown by and I am almost incredulous that it is over. 

We came up for the week to help with my father in law as he underwent double knee replacement on Wednesday. The hospital has been calling him a rockstar because he went up steps and walked the hallways twice on the second day. I don't really likes teps myself and my knees are fine. But whatever;)

It has been great to see everyone and it was also our first Easter up here in almost 5 years and I don't want to eat for days. I will probably feel this way till at least the morning where I will promptly eat. and not even care.

I got to see Kerry on Thursday and we had a fantastic time as we always do and my sis in law came along this time and learned way too much about blogging. 

I also got the hang of driving around the neighborhoods and not getting lost. Tony has a virtual map in his head and without him and my phone barley having any service, making my way without getting lost inflated my ego a bit. and then on Sat I was able to swing by Wards Berry Farm in Sharon and their apple cinnamon bread is ridiculous. Yummmmm.

 Friday, while I ran some errands for my mother in law and they were still at the hospital, I was able to take the extra time to myself and fit some shopping at Patriots Place in. I also decided to catch a movie and saw Draft Day. I actually really enjoyed it, but I love Keven Costner and I will watch any sports movie. And kind of funny to walk out of the theater and be in the shadow of Gillette Stadium. Is it football season yet?

We had Easter yesterday and I love seeing the family and being as my husband is Italian, there was 5 courses. First up was homemade raviolis with broth. Then Anti pasto, followed up by ravioli in homemade sauce. Then the dinner. Mashed and roasted potatoes. Lamb and ham. Too many veggies to count. and gobs of vino. 

Easter is my favorite holiday as my faith is the most important part of my life and Easter is the cornerstone to my beliefs. being able to be surrounded by family is and food is just the icing on the cake. Missing my family and my other niece's first Easter was hard, but I will see her sweet cheeks soon!

As much as I will miss everyone, I will not miss the colder temps. There was snow this week. In April. No thanks to that. Ever again. And I will be glad to jump in my bed. I just wish Boston was closer. By lots of miles.




16.4.14

Blog Redesign

More and more I am getting a feel for what I want to happen and represent me in this little space of mine. Thanks  so much to Lauren from teach pray love design for whipping this up in no time. She was a pleasure to work with and her prices are phenomenal.  She took my vision and made it even better. As I am inept at anything design related and need all the help I can get. As in...All the help.

My phone has been acting all a fool lately and not letting me comment on a lot of blogs. As soon as we get back to Carolina,  my stalking of you all will commence.

And on a side note...I woke up to snow this morning.  What in the ever loving hell, Boston? !?! It is April.  Just no!

15.4.14

The Food Trip Continues

On Sunday we woke up early and headed down for breakfast. And for $17, the buffet was well worth it for what they packed in. Plus, all the tazo tea my heart desired. Mid way through the meal I noticed our server looking at me somewhat strangely and after he left and Tony came back from the restroom...I learned that my hair was full of whip cream. What can I say...it was some good stuff. 

We left Easton and headed to a small harbor town of St. Michaels. Another sweet location and so full of vibrant colors and shops. We stopped by the maritime museum for a few quick minutes before heading over to the shops and I hit the jackpot. Our first stop was American Holiday and I was instantly enamored with all the great finds and then I found a book about a murder mystery that takes place in St. Michaels and what do you know, the author was in the shop. Day (and probably week made) After buying the book and chatting for a few minutes we headed to the sister store, Knotty Living. They also had the cutest "dog bar" at lots of shops, where they had treats and water for your pups. I can't wait to write about the book and author!

I have an entire post for this enchanting place, but that is for another day. After a quick cafe stop, we were back en route for Boston. and after taking the bay bridge coming off 301 and running into Sunday traffic, we sat. and sat. and sat some more before deciding that we had to get the h out of dodge and took the next exit and meandered our way through Jersey on all backroads. But before we took the exit, I snapped this picture of an old barn off the turnpike. From the window of our car and on my phone. Funny how it was one of my favorite shots all weekend. and no editing. none, except a small cropping of the lock on his car door;) I just love the rusty colors against the blue sky.

Our backroad experience let us stop off in Princeton, which I haven't been to in years and I took so many photos as it is one of the most picturesque towns/campuses there is. And of course, we grabbed a quick bite at the Italian market next to campus. One of the best chicken parms I have ever had. and they had a jar of nutella the size of a big baby. I wanted to grab it and run. I didn't. And I am still remiss.

Finally, at ten, we arrived in Sharon. Also known as the number 1 small town in America. When money magazine released their rankings last year...I wanted to scream, My husband's pride for his town needed no help;) haha

14.4.14

Eating Our Way Up the East Coast

literally;) well, ok...but almost. We left Raleigh on Friday and headed up for Richmond. We had originally planned to have a weekend with my family for my nephew's baseball tournament, but it was cancelled. Since we had planned to leave for Boston on Sunday, we decided to go ahead with our trip anyways.

The fun part was that we decided to forgo our second night in Richmond and play all of Saturday by ear. What a great decision and you have no idea how much we fit into that one afternoon! I plan on putting a few of the stops into posts of their own, but for today...here is a drive by idea of our weekend!

On the first night, we just grabbed a quick bite to eat at the Savory Grain in Richmond. Their perogies filled with Vermont cheddar were to die for. and their cocktails were insanely delicious. maybe two of the best I have had in a really long time and they used so many Virginia ingredients and ciders, beers, wines and even spirits. Loved it. Go Virginia, Go;)


Saturday we woke up and left our sweet hotel, The Linden Row Inn. Edgar Allan Poe played in the gardens here when he was a boy. History nerd! Then ,before we headed on our way, and after several tries for brunch and the restaurants either being closed or packed, we headed over to Shockoe bottom and the Urban Farmhouse. I love the structure of this place and the ambiance. Usually I am a big fan of their food, but my french toast was nothing to write home about(but apparently enough to write down here, huh) but their mimosas are yum and for whatever reason, the ice makes it better. Normally I would frown upon ice in my mimosa, not here!

Then we got on the road and made the decision that no matter where we ended up, we would find it off the beaten path and not take 95 on the way to Boston. First up was  a Vineyard we spotted in the Northern Neck area of Virgina, Oak Crest. We loved one of their red blends and after grabbing a glass and a bottle for later, back on the road we were. making a quick pit stop in Colonial Beach and this house (the blue and yellow one) which was where Alexander Graham Bell once lived! It is now a bed and breakfast. 

At this point, we made Annapolis our destination and continued on 301/50 and after I screamed that I saw a Carvel, we made a pit stop for a cone and in less than half an hour, we were in Annapolis. Which is one of the most beautiful capital cites you can imagine. And as much as we wanted to stay the night, there was a famous croquet match that takes place between the Naval Academy and nearby St. Johns...and after two hours of dealing with the rudest and drunkest people I have ever dealt with outside of a frat party, we left and headed elsewhere. 

Here is where I can happily say how this turned into an amazing adventure and I may have found my new favorite town! We ended up in Easton, MD and to be as small as it is, the shops and restaurants and the arts in general are incredible. We had fantastic dinner and drinks again. this time at Docs, thanks to the recommendations of Miss Kristin! We stayed at the sweetest hotel, The Tidewater Inn. The porch was enough to lure me in and I was completely done in by the fan in the room. More hotels should do this!

And wow, that was just Saturday and this has become entirely too long to also post about Sunday, so I will finish it off tomorrow. How was your weekend? Any special plans?

3.4.14

Hosting With The Mosting

We love hosting and after a a hiatus because of pesky sicknesses or travel, we were finally able to work all of our schedules out. Last year, some couples that we hang out with all decided to host neighborhood dinners. Each couple would rotate on a monthly basis. It is a nice way to get to see each other and enjoy different foods...and the bonus is that it is within walking distance. Wine is even better this way;) And since we hosted this go round, I was gifted with a some of my favorite flowers! Thanks again, Tharina!


Even now that a few couples have moved, we all still participate and have invited a few new couples to the crew and it is a cross town dinner group. I love any excuse to cook and recently, so does Tony. I am not sure about how it works for you guys...but multiple cooks in a kitchen can be a war in the making. I have lots of girl nights that I get to whip up meals in the kitchen for and I decided it was only fair to let him take charge this time. He decided on making a bolognese from scratch and I was given the task of making meatballs. It was my first time, but I handled it alright. A few of them didn't make it from the pan and fell apart on their way to the sauce. Rude.

But the funny part about Tony is that he goes all out. He grabs the drink bucket, has 5 types of beer, different sodas and a plethora of coffee. He poured everyone wine when their glasses were empty, kept the beers coming. Set up an entire table of appetizers and had candles burning. This is what you get from a 6'5 former football player.  My reign of hostest once again was overtaken, then he began cleaning and I decided he could have the honors, fair and square. Cooking, all day, every day...cleaning, no thanks!

In his defense, he gets his desire to feed everyone in sight fair and square. He is half Italian and half Lebanese. They are known for a few things, wine and food are somewhat up there. The only problem when he gets hold of the kitchen, he usually cooks enough to feed 15 families when there are 8 of us. This is why my bum has grown exponentially these past few years. Somebody save me.

Do any of you guys have a neighborhood dinner club? One of my favortie nights each month. I really want to start a game night soon. That is one of my loves. But if you beat me...you're not welcome back. 

2.4.14

Guacamole Isn't Hummus

Hummus in every shape and form lately is all the rage. There's roasted red pepper hummus, black bean hummus and I've even seen beet hummus. I should mention that I am not an overt fan of hummus myself. I do use it in a lot of recipes though, Mediterranean flat bread and Mediterranean stuffed shells. But I rarely partake in these creations and trust the mister's judgement. 

I am not the most anal of people...only a few things will get my panties all bunched. I hate text talk. Kindles make me shudder and my idea of being on time means that if you're 5 minutes early, you're already late. (You should know that my husband does not share this trait. One of his nicknames is TYTT...take your time, Tony. I the opposite of love it about him.)  But for the most part...I am beyond easy going. Unless, apparently when, it comes to hummus. The dish I don't even like. 

A while back, I clicked on a recipe for "avocado hummus" I was immediately intrigued. Thinking my husband would probably love the combo of hummus and avocados and my mind was already working out a bunch of meal ideas. 

As I clicked on it, this was the recipe.
2 avocados
1/2 cup cherry tomatoes (chopped)
garlic
cilantro


Ummmm, what? I quickly re scanned to make sure that I had indeed looked up a recipe for avocado hummus and not, you know, guacamole?!!?!? Here is the thing, the Arabic word for hummus actually translates to mean chickpeas. Therefore, no chickpeas...no hummus. 

This would be akin to me looking at Greek Yogurt and calling it milk hummus. Just because it is a thick dip. From now on, french onion dip is french onion hummus!

This is my random confession/rant of the week. If you make me hummus that I will probably not eat anyways, please put chickpeas in it. 

linking up with Kathy & Liz

1.4.14

Surprise, I Got Him.

Tony is often really good at surprising me or taking me to places that I don't know about till we arrive. He has been working so much lately on his new project and I know how much he misses his family. His parents and I were sneaky and unbeknownst to him, we concocted a visit for them here in Wake Forest. 

I told him that Monday that I had plans for us coming up on Friday and I needed him to leave work early. When he left work, I called him and told him to meet me at a local bar and grille and when he walked in, his parents were there.  To say he was shocked would be an understatement, he could barely talk for a good 15 minutes and he kept looking back and forth from his parents to me. It felt great to actually have the upper hand on a surprise  for once. 

 After he finally setled into the idea that they were indeed here for a week, we went  to downtown Wake Forest that night, my mother in law and I went shopping in the boutiques and later we joined the guys at the local brewery. We had dinner and as is the case whenever we get together with them...we ate way too much!

The next day we had to work the first round ncaa basketball tournament and my in laws were able to cheer while we worked and afterwards we traipsed over to Hillsbourough, It is one of my favorite towns in the triangle and there is so much history in the area. But my favorite part was our stop by the chocolate shop. I could spend way too much time there. And the hot chocolate, oh my word. They use their own chocolate and melt it down with cream and top with homemade marshmallows. They also offer a truffle shot, which is where they take one of their homemade truffles and top with espresso and it melts down around the truffle and oh my gosh, big fan!

Sunday we went to a few local museums. The great thing about Raleigh is the amount of art we have. And the best part is that they are all free! After walking around the art museum we hit up the history museum as they have a new exhibit there about Cedars in The Pines. All about the Lebanese in North Carolin and how they immigrated here and the impact they have had. My mother in law is full Lebanese so it was awesome to see everything with her and have her translate a few things for me or describe the uses of a few items.

Afterwards we headed to Sitti, an upper scale Lebanese restaurant in downtown Raleigh. Had to keep up the theme for the day. I am not as adventurous as I should be and I pretty much went with kabobs while they tore up the rest of the menu. but the bread. Oh my word...the bread.

They ended up staying a few more days before making the trek back to Boston. We had such a great time and I cannot wait to see them again in a few weeks when we head up to Beantown for Easter. Thanks again for playing along with my surprise and then helping me when you were visiting! Plus, you know...bringing more garage wine!