Monthly Archives: March 2012

Charlottesville Winery Tour

Over St. Patty’s Day weekend I toured around Charlottesville’s best vineyards for my friend, Cait’s wedding shower and bachelorette party. Lauren, the maid of honor, did a fabulous job planning the whole weekend in perfect detail from our pristine limousine bus (stocked with champagne) to the cutesy games, yummy food, and thoughtful party favors (no male genitalia woo hoo!!).

Charlottesville Winery Tour-- James LimosineOn the bus.

I just loved some of the creative details Lauren put into this shower, so I have to share a few.

On the outside patio at  Kings Family Vineyard, we were given a gift bag with a memory Cait had about that person written on a tag. Then we had to find the person who matched our bag. It was a clever way to break the ice and bring back a few ol’ college memories ( They’re kinda hazy for some reason, so I need reminding time to time).  The bags were filled with our wine glass for the day, some cookies, a mustache and a tiara cut out.

The shower’s theme was “around the clock”, so we each person brought a gift based on our assigned time.  The party confirmed that every hour of the day is basically centered around eating/cooking or drinking (or drinking while eating and cooking).

Kings Family Vineyard Charlottesville Virginia King Family Vineyards.

Kings Family Vineyard Charlottesville Virginia Barrels and barrels of wine…sounds like trouble.

Kings Family Vineyard CharlottesvilleWine tasting at 11 am? Don’t mind if we do.

Kings Family Vineyard Charlottesville VirginiaFriends since freshman year. Eagle Hall baby.

Later in the day, we ventured to Veritas Vineyard & Winery where we played  a few other games. My favorite was ‘Mustaches and Tiaras’. Lauren had emailed Cait and Adam questions to answer like, “What’s your favorite feature about your finance’?” or “What were their thoughts on their first date?”  We then had to guess who said each answer by holding up the mustache (for adam) or the tiara (for cait). Answers for both Adam and Cait received many ‘Awwwws’. Mustaches have officially take over this year (they’re all the rage!).

Veritas Charlottesville Virginia Wine does help reveal the truth.

Veritas Winery Charlottesville Virginia Nice little view from Veritas.

Veritas Winery Charlottesville VirginiaI certainly loved Veritas.

Veritas Charlottesville Virginia The Hart and future Hart family.

veritas winery charlottesville virginiaMustaches and Tiaras.

It was lovely spending a sunny day celebrating a dear friend and a new step in her life.

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Pacers Four Courts Four Miler

Pacers Four Courts Four Milers Race is a great reason to celebrate St. Patty’s day in an active way before you drink all those green pints. I mean that’s one main reason I run, to not feel guilty about my indulgences.

I was supposed to run this year, but I recently sprained my ankle running trails (I’m prob the clumsiest person you’ll meet), so I played team mom instead. Last year I ran the race in 35:05, this year I prob would’ve walked in a solid 1 hr time with my peeps in the 70-99 age group.

Pacers knows their stuff when it comes to running. Organization, freebies, and festivities are key to a race’s success.  The packet pick up that morning is a little crowded in Four Courts, but organized, and they keep you entertained with some live music.  Your race packet includes a St. Patty’s themed race tee and a beer ticket to redeem after the race. I’ve heard beer has the same positive recovery benefits as chocolate milk (source: some drunk college kid).

four courts four miler

Races centered around holidays bring out the best spirit and fun costumes. I loved seeing the sea of green run down Wilson Boulevard, while listening to the bag pipes play and the Irish dancers tap away.

The course is slightly challenging.  Savor the first mile down hill, cause the last mile is all uphill. After running that mile uphill it surely does feel like you’ve found a pot of gold crossing the finish line. Your bum looks pretty good too.

four courts four miler

Pacers also throws in a fun St. Patty’s day twist. One of Pacer’s sprinters, an Irish lad named Robbie Wade, starts the race 10 minutes after the start gun. He tries his best beat you to the finish line.  If you beat him, you win a prize (this year, a water bottle) but if he beats you Pacers donates a $1 to the Arlington County Police Benevolent Fund.

The race ends with a celebration at Four Courts with some live music and ale drinkin’.

My Four Courts Four Milers Recommendations for you:

  • Sign up early, this race has sold out since 2010 its conception.
  • Duh, wear green. If you’re a lady, I would suggest sparkly green tutus.
  • Train on hills.
  • Hire one of your friends to chase you while you run. You’ll be well prepared for beating the leprechaun.
  • If you want to beat the record, somehow start running 4:56 miles. I suggest strapping a jet pack to your back. Frank Devar set the record in 2011 running the race in 19:44.2…that’s 4:57 miles! Lindsay Ritchings set the record for the ladies  in 2010 running the race in 23:48…that’s 5:47 miles!

Check out the race page, Pacers Four Courts Four Milers.

Here are some action shots of Brian taken by Swim Bike Run Photography.

pacers four courts four miler

Pacers Four Courts Four Miler

Brian finished 52nd out of 1511 runners, 43rd  fastest male, and 17th in this age group!  He ran the race in 27:55, that’s 6:52 miles. He’s reallll fast and kinda a big deal…and he’s my boyfriend 🙂

I actually almost missed him running by because 1. I went and got coffee from Bean Good. 2. I was distracted by a gay couple outside of Bean Good who had an adorable cute and fluffy Shih Tzu (perfectly groomed of course). 3. Did I mention he’s real fast?

pacers four cours

Also one last fun race day give-away for the ladies were Becca Bands. They’re these great hair ties that don’t leave a crease in your hair after you wear them. They’re hand dyed and tied. Check out her website and order a few too, Becca Bands.

becca hair bands

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North Wales Farm

Born and Raised

On Sunday, my mom and I took a drive to the farm I grew up on, North Wales Farm.

Visiting here always brings an ease over me and reminds me of a simpler time in my life when my biggest worry was making it home from my day’s adventures before dark.

In my little girl eyes, this farm was an endless play ground, filled with miles of country to explore. I can’t tell you the number of times I drove my mom’s old Buick down this dusty dirt road, sitting in her lap, feeling like I could conquer the world. Or how many times my cousins and I got into trouble, sneaking off to build forts in the woods.

Time passed slowly here and I spent as many hours outside as I could.

On Saturdays I loved watching hot air balloons land, one after another, always racing my bike to meet the balloon riders and celebrate their landing with champagne and apple juice (for me).

I think we had every animal a little girl could dream of from a pony named “Pretty Girl” to a billy goat named “Billy” (I know creative), even two guinea pigs named “Burt and Ernie”. I would regularly head down to the pasture and feed our ponies some of my m&m cookies.

We always had a huge garden in our back yard and I loved stealing tomatoes right off the vine, eating them just like apples.

Often I come back here in my day dreams and think of the many happy memories this place brought. I try to slow down time for just one moment and remember that I’m still that country girl simply exploring the world.

North Wales Farm

This ones my old house.

North Wales Farm

North Wales Farm Virginia

Tractor Tracks

North Wales Farm Virginia

My grandparents old house.

Also my parents got married right in the front yard.

North Wales Farm

North Wales Farm

North Wales Farm Virginia

North Wales Farm Virginia

North Wales Farm Caroline County

North Wales Farm Virginia

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Sunshine Cupcakes

For Brian’s birthday this year, I decided to make some special sunshine cupcakes. For those of you who don’t know, my pet name for him is Sunshine.   Mainly, I call him this because he brightens my life…. and I like the ring of Sunshine better than some other cutesie names. Sorry if you just lost your appetite, but for those of you still hungry out there, these yummy cupcakes are fun to make and even more fun to eat.

I think I seriously had half a bag of watermelon sours, spoonfuls of frosting,  some uncooked funfetti cake batter,  and a test cupcake before we even started decorating these golden creations.

Decorating was a little harder after a few glasses of wine and some failed attempts at getting the water melon sours to stay on. I even tried sticking the candies to toothpicks ( I blame it on the sugar high).  My friend quickly advised against this considering I did want people to live after eating the cupcakes.   Good thing I have smart friends.

murder cupcakes

So with the murder cupcake out of my system, we finally wised up and stuck the cupcakes back in the fridge. The icing hardened some and made it easier for the candy to stay on.

The final product ta daaaaaa!

sunshine cupcakes

I couldn’t help but be a little happier every time I opened my fridge and saw these cupcakes smiling back at me. Guess they have the same effect as my Sunshine. birthday boy

Most importantly, Brian had a wonderful birthday, celebrating with friends and eating some birthday cupcakes! Annnnd every one lived!

birthday celebration

Sunshine Cupcake Recipe Time

  • Prep: 20 min. Bake: 20 min. + cooling
  • Decorating time?: Well if you drink a few glasses of wine and invite your best friend over, estimated time is 3 hours
  • Yield: 24 Servings

Ingredients

  • 1 package (18-1/4 ounces) of funfetti cupcake mix cause it’s da bomb
  • 2 cans (16 ounces) of cream cheese frosting
  • Yellow and orange food coloring
  • Miniature semisweet chocolate chips
  •  Twizzlers (pull and peel)
  • Sour water melon candies…I’ve seen the cupcakes done with candy corn. But who likes gross candy corn?

Directions

  • Eat most of the candy until your stomach starts to hurt…just make sure to leave enough for the cupcakes.
  • Prepare cake batter mix according to package directions for cupcakes; cool completely.
  • In a small bowl, tint frosting can yellow and the other can orange.
  • Frost cupcakes.
  • Place cupcakes in the fridge for about 10 minutes to let the icing harden at bit.
  •  Press two chocolate chips into each cupcake for eyes.
  • For mouths, cut the Twizzlers into small pieces; bend slightly to curve.
  • Cut the water melon sours in half. Frost them with the yellow frosting and then add around the edges of cupcakes.

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Love City, St. John

I recently went on an all girls trip to the U.S. Virgin Islands. I’ve been a little slow writing a post about my trip. Well I’ve been slow about writing a post…period. I guess I’m still stuck on island time. Really though, I find it difficult to encompass an amazing trip in just a few short paragraphs. So here it goes skunts (you know who you are). Enjoy.

Girls Trip to St. John

Most of all, this trip made me grateful for good girl friends (especially ones that chose to live in tropical places). Somehow this trip came together in a matter of weeks. It seemed like each day I opened my email to another recruit committing to the trip. None of us wanted to miss out on a little adventure that only an all girls trip could bring.

Our four days in paradise were spent soaking up the warm island sun, lounging on pristine white sandy beaches, snorkeling, breaking a “waterproof” camera (oppsie), sipping on a cocktail or two, watching a “top ten”sunset,  and playing with a barbie doll named Jocelyn. She’s kinda the life of the party.

jocelyn st. john

Our four nights were spent drinking most of the rum on St. John, dancing the night away, mingling with a few locals, and hopping from bar to bar.

My recommendations for you:

If you’re twenty something and don’t want to spend $500 a night to stay at resort: Check out tripadvisor or vrbo. We stayed in an awesome condo, Serendip. Every morning we awoke to beautiful views of St. John.   Our group of 6 all stayed in one condo. The amenities I enjoyed most were the kitchen, the supply of snorkel gear and beach chairs.  The property manager was extremely accommodating as well. She even helped us at 5 am when we were locked at our our condo…our bad.

So many bays …Where to stay? If you’re twenty something and want close access to many bars,  Cruz Bay all the way.

cruz bay st. john

Your airplane landing: Be prepared. You can’t see the runway when you’re landing and it looks like you’re just gonna crash right into the water. For a nervous flyer…this is some scary *ish. So bring a change of pants and already have your apology written to your neighbor for awkwardly holding their hand.


Rent a Jeep: Cabs are expensive and you have more freedom riding around the island at your leisure. You can also enjoy the slight panic attack every time you realize you’re driving on the right side of the road which would be fine if you’re any where else in America but in this once British controlled island,  you’re supposed to be on the left. Which brings me to my next recommendation, make sure you have proper car insurance. We saw a lot of dented and totally wrecked jeeps in St. Thomas and St. John.

Check out the ferry schedule whether you’re in a car or just by yoself: We checked out this ferry schedule beforehand. We barely made it on the last car ferry and actually had to call the boat and convince them to wait for us. Yep they actually waited for us…you gotta love island time.

Visit as many bars as possible: My favorites in Cruz Bay are….

Take a day trip to Lampshire Bay:

We crammed into our trusty jeep and drove about 45 minutes through winding beach roads to this beach. I would recommend taking it easier the night before…riding on these roads hungover is not so fun.  On the ride there we were greeted by island wild life including billy goats, donkeys, and an iguana.  Lampshire was more secluded, had some great snorkeling, and on the way back we stopped at Skinny Legs. This is a great place to stop for a few drinks and pick up a few cute souvenirs in the surrounding shops.

Lampshire Bay St. John

My second trip to St. John was just as memorable as the first, and and I’m sure it won’t be my last. Bye for now Love City.

packing up_st. john

More of my travels:

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