Tuesday, April 26, 2016

The New Winchester Brew Works!

We had the great joy this weekend to meet our friends' two babies: their brewery, Winchester Brew Works, and their actual baby, Oliver!

This weekend they hosted their Kickstarter party and we enjoyed samples of the absolutely delicious Little Schloss, a semi-dry stout, and the very drinkable Canoe Love, a cream ale.

Their tasting room features a gorgeous Shenandoah Valley-inspired mural by the mom of co-owner Bonnie.

And it also has an indoor pergola, setting the mood for indoor picnics year-long!

Most of the beers will be very small batches, so you gotta move quick to sample each special brew. I heard there's sometimes a mango wheat, and I definitely need that in my life.

And happily, we found their baby is also delicious! He doesn't do much yet, but he can coo with the best of them. Can't wait to see this little one grow.

Monday, April 25, 2016

A Wine Club Sprinkle

Three years to the day after our first Wine Club baby shower, we toasted Melissa again with a "sprinkle" for her second baby on the way. I wanted to share a few pics from our fun, relaxed party. 

To decorate, I bought pre-cut tissue poms from the cheap section at the front of Target and ordered the raindrop garland from Amazon. It would be easy to craft, but ain't nobody got time for that these days! 

I couldn't resist ordering these adorable emoji balloons from Amazon, which ended up being a great gift for Melissa's little girl!

For the "sprinkle" theme at a baby girl shower, I opted to decorate with blues and whites, with accents of pink. So I busted out my Nana's wedgewood and sprinkled some Target pink confetti. 

We decided to toast our future lady friend with delicious rose wines. Not all are pictured, but we enjoyed Le Rose de Mouton Cadet...

 ... and Beringer Pink Moscato...

 And lovely La Cuvee Mythique Brut Rose.

 For supper, we "sprinkled" rosemary garlic spices on homemade popcorn, then enjoyed a DIY tartine bar. I set up fixins to make:

  • A Philly tartine: Sandwich steak + bell peppers + a mix of Grand Cru, Mozzarella and Fontiago
  • An Italiano: Pesto + Soppressata + mix of Grand Cru, Mozz and Fontiago + Balsamic Glaze
  • A Mexicano: Mexican-spiced chicken + bell peppers + mix of Grand Cru, Smoked Fontina and 3-pepper cheddar + lime mayo

Basically, they were the best thing ever. Melty open-faced sandwiches are my new favorite dinner.

And we finished off with ice cream sundaes topped with — what else? — sprinkles!

And what would be a shower without adorable baby stuff? We got Melissa a mixture of practical gear and squeal-worthy outfits and accessories.

We can't wait to meet our next little boo and couldn't be more excited she'll be another future Wine Club member!

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Sunday Best v.269

Nora Ephron, serious icon status

Whew! I'm bone-tired from a day spent stripping and cleaning our deck (and honestly? It doesn't even look that much better...womp womp), but the weekend wasn't a total loss. We finally made it over to Jessy's Taco Bistro, where the tacos taste fresh from the taco truck. I particularly loved the choripollo taco. I also carved out an hour to watch Everything is Copy, a balanced and loving look at Nora Ephron, one of my ultimate icons in all things. If you have HBO access, give it a go.

Here are some favorite links to keep you busy:

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Game Night Birthday Party

This past weekend, we celebrated this dude's birthday with a super fun game night birthday party! I LOVE a good game night and the minute one ends, I'm itching to have another. Here are a few snapshots (I should have taken more...fail):

We had a couple signature "Sean" drinks: Jack and Coke and what I dubbed "The Sean," a mix of Bulleit Bourbon and Ginger Beer. Delicious!

In addition to pizzas from the legendary Pizza Box in Portsmouth, we had a spread of snacks and all the best dips: French Onion, red pepper hummus and artichoke spinach dip.

I used this recipe as a basis to make super-cheat mini pies with pre-made pie crust and apple pie filling. Easy breezy, but you still get the "homemade" credit when they're fresh out of the oven.

We played one of my very favorite games, Balderdash and my new favorite, Telestrations, which is like the Telephone game crossed with Pictionary. It was so fun and the results were so hilarious, we were all crying from laughing. I can't recommend it enough.

What are your game night favorites? I'm always on the lookout for new game jams.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Girl Scout Wine Pairings, Ranked

Wine Club tackled one of the most blogged topics of the past couple years: Girl Scout Wine Pairings. Ever the intrepid winos, we sipped and nibbled and I'm happy to report, some of these were dreamy. Some were ghastly. 

Two things to know if you want to try it yourself:
  1. Many of the so-called pairing lists published online include VERY expensive wines, so we made some quick substitutions to keep this within the realm of affordability.
  2. This is obviously subjective. Some of us liked certain pairings more than others, which is to be expected. 

In order of favorite to least favorite:
  1. Tagalongs with Capitel della Crosara Valpolicella Ripasso: Peanut butter jelly time! Peanut butter jelly time! This pairing was like a dream, with the grape flavor of the wine perfectly complimenting the smooth peanut butter of the tagalong like a grown-up version of a childhood favorite. We all took a bite and a sip and sighed with pleasure.
  2. Rah Rah Raisins with Lataste Haute Medoc Bordeaux: Most of us had never tried the Rah Rah Raisins, which may take a truly adult palate to appreciate, but they were so delicious with this bordeaux, which makes sense when you consider raisins are just dried grapes. 
  3. Trefoils with Rodney Strong Sauvignon Blanc: The crisp lemony sauvignon blanc was a perfect complement to the buttery sweet Trefoil, arguably one of the best mass-produced shortbread cookies around. 
  4. Thin Mints with Sandeman Ruby Port: The recommended pairing was Brunello, which was not easy to find and pricey. But one of the articles I read said it was actually a gross pairing and recommended port instead. Port is WAY too sweet to do anything more than sip, but truly, the sip of port with a Thin Mint was surprisingly perfect. It somehow punctuated and brought out the mint flavor, and its sweetness contrasted nicely with the chocolate. 
  5. Samoas with Castillo Clavijo Rioja Crianza: Samoas deserve better. The caramel-gooey-coconut goodness just didn't jive with this dry earthy red. The aftertaste was sour; neither flavor enhanced the other. 

Props to Melissa for a delicious spread, which included spinach and cheddar cheese spreads, cured meats, peppadews, pork chops and roasted potatoes. We ate like queens!

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Sunday Best v.268

Oh look at me now! I got new bedding! One of life's simple pleasures, for sure. Forgive me that rumpled bedskirt; keeping bedskirts straight is one of many banes of my existence. When we were in IKEA last weekend, I felt inspired to gift my husband with a slightly more masculine bedroom for the spring/summer season. 

We picked up this Emmie Ruta duvet cover and sham set and more importantly, a new duvet insert. I cannot tell you how ratchet our old down duvet was, but let's just say all the feathers were at the bottom and winter was misery.

Lest it get TOO masculine in there, though, I popped into West Elm in search of some slightly more feminine shams to balance it out. I ended up with these watercolor-print Roar & Rabbit shams that I love, and perfectly pull the room together, Big Lebowski-style.

But enough about bedding. How about some lazy Sunday reading distraction? Here are my favorite links lately:

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Easter 2016: Blossomed Branches, Lamb and Dominoes

Doesn't it feel like spring came on very quickly this year? Flowers that were just blooming last year (according to my Timehop) have already come and gone. I'm trying to enjoy the little bit of time we have together, so after doing a bit of yardwork the other day, I snipped these pink blossomed branches to admire from the comfort of my couch.

Blooms never last as long as I'd like!

For whatever reason, I haven't spent Easter with family since high school, but this year our family decided to get together for a lovely evening of delicious treats and laughter.

 It wasn't warm per se, but I just really wanted to wear this new linen dress.

 We had a fantastic meal of rack of lamb, couscous, sugar snap peas and this scrumptious lemon almond cake.

And believe it or not, I played my first game of dominoes! We learned how to play Mexican Train dominoes and it was so fun. 

Monday, March 21, 2016

Spring is Here, and We're Eating Good

Spring has come to the Kennedy house! I finally (omg, this is embarrassing) put away my Christmas mantel last week, and decorated for spring. Easy enough, with daffodils popping up in the backyard.

The only other real thing going on around here is that we're still loving Plated, our meal delivery service and had one of the honest-to-goodness best homemade meals ever last week when we tried their seared skirt steak with red wine shallot sauce, honey-roasted rainbow carrots, smashed red potatoes and (not pictured) whipped goat cheese with chives. Oh my lordy, I cleaned my plate. And whipped goat cheese couldn't be easier! I'll be sure to post about it sometime soon.

On St. Paddy's Day, I conquered one of my former food nightmares: Shepherd's Pie. I'm not a fan of mashed potatoes, which makes me a bonafide crazy person in the view of most people, so I'd always regarded the dish as an Everest to climb. But guess what? Every single bite of this was delicious (even though I could do with more flavorful mashed potatoes).

And for a picture of marriage, let me set the scene. On Thursday, I arrived home to see my Bartlett pear tree in full bloom. I took a deep breath and it just smelled lovely to me, exactly like the certain arrival of spring. I went inside and declared the same to my husband.

Me: Did you smell the tree outside?
Sean: Oh, I know, it stinks. It's god-awful.
Me (shocked): Are you kidding? It smells like flowers! It smells like spring!
Sean: It stinks. It smells like poo. It's terrible.

He then pulls out his phone and shows me a post in our neighborhood's facebook group in which many, many people talked about how disgusting the neighborhood smells right now because of the pear trees.

I don't care. I think it smells great.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Sunday Best v.267

Milton Avery, "Conversations in the Studio."

It's a bit late to be posting a Sunday best, but I hope we're good enough friends you'll understand that I really had to spend my whole day watching the BBC's adaptation of "North & South" or life just wasn't going to be worth living. I'm HEAVY into a 19th-century Brit Lit film adaptation phase at the moment, so if it's not in Derbyshire or Sussex, I just can't give a damn. But here are a few links that did catch my attention:

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Sunday Best v. 266

How to Work Better by Fischli & Weiss, 1991.

Oh, y'all, I haven't shared a Sunday Best in so very long, I don't blame you if you've unfriended me. I'm determined to make it up to you, so here are a TON of favorite links from the past couple weeks.