Thursday, October 31, 2013

Hallowino 2013

One of our favorite Wine Club events of the year was last night! Hallowino 2013 brought out a black swan, Jessica Rabbit, a Catholic schoolgirl, Orange is the New Black girlfriends, a fox and a butterfly. Plus a baby, but more about that later.

As always, we brought wines with spooky labels, and miraculously, no repeats after 4 years! We sampled:

  • Script & Seal Syrah, with hints of blueberry, black raspberry and herbs de provence. A little fruity, a little spicy.
  • Benefactors Cellars Shiraz, a Trader Joe's wine with dark fruit flavors.
  • Apothic Dark Red, a surprisingly sweeter version of an old favorite, with hints of coffee and chocolate.
  • The Plank, a sweet red North Carolina muscadine. It's syrupy sweet, but smells divine.
  • Giocato Pinot Grigio, our first Slovenian wine! A fresh, bright and crisp pinot with hints of green apple.

Erica made an incredible spread of foods meant to signify the seven deadly sins. My favorite? Saffron risotto topped with gold flecks, for "greed." It literally looked like something Scrooge McDuck would dive into, and was SO GOOD.

For envy, we had green asparagus topped with caramelized onions and bacon.

And the mindblowing gluttonous centerpiece was a crown roast of pork. It was just about the fanciest meal I've ever had, in someone's home or anywhere!

Last night was most special because our newest member was finally able to make it to a meeting! Baby Mia graced us with her presence, gamely cooed and giggled and napped with everyone and then happily slept on Daddy while Mommy got her sip on. Best. baby. ever!!

I mean, come on.

Thank you to Jessica Rabbit for being the hostess with the mostest!

Catch our previous Hallowinos hereherehere and here.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Homearama 2013

 Every year, we love to go to the local builder expo, Homearama, and get decor inspiration (and enjoy a bit of judging). This year, it was unfortunately more judging than oohing and aahing but Melissa and I didn't leave without a few good glimpses.

 Melissa and I loved this dining room...there's nothing like a fully set table! We were especially keen on the nailhead linen dining chairs that were from — wait for it — Value City.

 I am dying over this Moroccan-inspired marble tile. So gorgeous, modern yet classic.

 In the same house, the bathroom had scalloped tile in a gorgeous fishscale pattern that made both Melissa and I gasp with delight.

 In the same room, this beautiful pewter wallpaper was used sparingly to great effect.

 I don't love the idea of forcing anyone to go to sleep beneath their to-do list, but I thought the idea of a striped chalkboard wall was inspired.

 We also loved this sophisticated spin on a frou frou teenage room, made a little more grown-up with a generous strip of framed wallpaper.

The rest of the homes were boring, except this modern-day glitzy Elvis home that had our jaws on the floor.

It's possible this doesn't quite translate in pictures, but this room was like a teenage girl's fantasy room on crack. 

See our past visits to Homearama here and here.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Sunday Best v.177

Incredible newspaper art by Myriam Dion. Teach me how to do this!

I've had a busy, but super fun weekend and now I'm happy to be lounging in PJs, watching the Redskins game and watching the pink sunset. Hope your weekend was twice as sweet!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

October Time is Festival Time

October in Virginia means one thing: festivals! It genuinely feels like the busiest month of the year in terms of art, wine and beer festivals and sometimes you have to literally festival hop. Saturday was one of those days. 

Erica joined me on Saturday morning to go to the Stockley Gardens Art Festival, which is held twice a year and attracts a great mix of local and national artists.

 I especially enjoyed this modern take on Jamestown by Will Corr.

 I would love to have room in my future home for beautiful glass windows like this one.

And we were really impressed by these botanical prints, made by literally putting plants in the screenprinting press and using them to make the resist image. Beautiful!

From there, we went to the Towne Point Park Wine Festival, a twice-a-year tradition, although it had been years since I made it for the fall edition. I loved sipping on a peach bellini, but also had my share of red and white wine from our old favorites, Chateau Morissette, Prince Michel and First Colony wineries.

 More than anything, wine fest is just about enjoying time with friends.

And maybe getting a little goofy in public! Now there's finally a chill in the air, so festival season is winding down and, I shouldn't say it too soon, but I'm looking forward to less busy weekends.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Sunday Best v.176

Amazing photobooth inspiration from this Cecil Beaton-Matisse collaboration in the 50s.

It's been a great fall weekend so far! Art openings, art festivals, wine fest and now, lazy lazy lounging while watching the Redskins. I've got some really great links for ya right here, so click away:

Friday, October 18, 2013

Jams of the Week

Drink Jam: Iced Chai

Have we talked yet about my iced chai obsession? It came out of's not like I just discovered a love of chai, but now I suddenly can't get enough. Vanilla? Great. Spiced? Great? Chocolate? Great great. I've never been super crazy about hot drinks, but I love the flavor, so this is perfect.

Hard Drink Jam: Pear Cider

I first tried pear cider a couple years ago and then sort of forgot about it. This time of year, I'm all about seasonal drinks, so I was ordering my customary hard apple cider and to my surprise, they were out of it, but offered pear cider instead. SO GOOD. I came home craving more and picked up Fox Barrel at the grocery store. It also comes in apricot pear and blackberry pear and they even have reserve flavors, including rhubarb and elderberry. 

Creative Jam: Block Printing

I just took my first printmaking class at the art center and it was a dream come true! I've wanted to try it for a long time, and it was amazing to see how easy it can be (at least when you're doing a beginner-level project). Now, every picture I see, I think, "That could make a fun print!" 

Movie Jam: Captain Phillips

It's amazing that, after so many years, Tom Hanks still manages to be as great as he is in everything he does. His subtle performance in "Captain Phillips" had tears streaming down my face by the end, and Hampton Roads folks are especially proud much of it was filmed in our region! The unknown actors chosen to play the pirates are also incredibly talented.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Eating Out in the Shenandoah Valley

Ashleigh and I set off on a journey to the Shenandoah Valley last Saturday. We knew we wouldn't be there long, but we wanted to squeeze in some delicious meals. Mission accomplished.

 We stopped for lunch at Bodo's Bagels, a Charlottesville institution we've visited before. This time I had the most delicious BLT with cheddar cheese on an everything bagel and it's basically all I want to eat from now on until the end of time.

 On Sunday morning, we stopped by my old stomping grounds, Coffee On the Corner in Staunton, a wonderful local coffee shop with delicious sandwiches and pastries.

 It was so nice to have this view again!

I couldn't resist another everything bagel, this time with ranch cream cheese and a very insanely delicious iced chocolate chai, which is basically a fancy chocolate milk that is better than anything. Ashleigh was jealous, but her banana bread looked pretty great.

Afterward, we went to the Fall Foliage festival in Waynesboro. We didn't have lunch plans, but to escape the rain, Ashleigh popped into Heritage on Main and we decided to stay for lunch. The menu was full of everything that's bad for you and delicious, like buffalo chicken dip, "tachos" (nachos made with tater tots) and an insane selection of burgers. Ashleigh had the lomu burger, basted with teriyaki sauce and topped with ham, grilled pineapple and swiss on a pretzel bun. The onion rings were also some of the best I've ever had.

 I had the absolutely delicious caprese burger, with pesto, tomato and fresh mozz oozing out the sides, with an order of tater tots. It was so good and we left super happy and maybe a little too full! I can't wait to go back someday and have the tachos!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

A Wedding in the Shenandoah Valley

This past weekend, Ashleigh and I ventured to Lexington, Va., a super sweet small town that looked like a movie about autumn.

 The occasion was to see our friend Daniel get married at the beautiful R.E. Lee Memorial Episcopal Church. It was a super crafty and adorable fall wedding.

 The reception was held at the home of the bride and it was just perfect.

 They had many sweet details...

 I especially loved the tea favors in old card catalog drawers.

 And I'm a sucker for a beautiful family wedding photo table!

 We enjoyed dinner under a beautiful tent, but first...

 We enjoyed cocktail hour in the front yard! I am all about warm cider with freshly ground cinnamon!

 On the lawn, they scattered paper hearts with the fallen leaves. So romantic!

 But the view was truly unbeatable! Can you imagine if this was your regular view growing up? OF COURSE you'd get married here.

 The groom's family played bluegrass on the front porch, which provided the perfect ambiance.

 We enjoyed dressing up for the photo booth, dancing to the VMI brass band and visiting with old friends.

It was a sweet night in the Shenandoah Valley...stay tuned for pics of some of the fun meals we had while we were out there!