Monday, September 29, 2014

Birthday Weekend in Asheville

We spent the weekend in my second favorite city (to Charleston, SC) ever - Asheville! As part of my birthday gift we booked a room at the Grand Bohemian Hotel Asheville. What a huge surprise this hotel was! Every single detail is absolutely stunning from the moment you pull in. 
via (my outside shots just didn't do this hotel justice!)
We arrived bright and early on Saturday morning and although our check in time wasn't until 4 pm we were immediately whisked up to the 4th floor to the most gorgeous room. The service was incredible and the lobby was so warm and inviting. Oh, and there are unbelievably beautiful chandeliers everywhere.
 
We loved our room. The Grand Bohemian doesn't miss a detail from the oversized velvet-tufted headboard and gorgeous light fixtures to the huge tub that opens up to the sleeping space. It was all around perfect...and Caroline agreed.
 {Side note: This probably sounds like a sponsored post but it isn't. Although, if the GB wants to give me a discount on our next stay I wouldn't mind one bit!}
 This little munchkin had her own crib next to our bed.
 I took full advantage of that tub...and the bath salts and bubble bath from the spa too!
We spent the afternoon walking around downtown Asheville listening to all the street corner musicians and had lunch at one of my very favorite places, Early Girl Eatery. We even bumped into one of my old college friends while we were wandering around.
The weather was absolutely perfect too. We couldn't have asked for a better weekend to visit Asheville. After lunch we went back to the hotel to let Caroline nap and cracked open a delicious bottle of The Dreaming Tree wine.
If you're looking for a deliciously smooth wine I cannot recommend The Dreaming Tree Cabernet Sauvignon enough! It's affordable ($15 for a bottle) and it was created by DMB frontman, Dave Matthews! Highly recommend!
Months prior to our trip I made reservations for dinner at The Admiral at the recommendation of one of my best friends (who loves Asheville as much as me). The dive bar turned restaurant is small (less than 10 tables) and books up fast! It also has hundreds of outstanding reviews (google, yelp, etc.) and is rated almost 5 stars. However, when we first arrived we definitely thought we were at the wrong place. The exterior of the restaurant screamed "dive bar" for sure and it was located in between a junk yard and gas station...what?!
The website even describes the establishment as "a modest cinderblock building on the wage earning side of town". Despite the appearance of the outside The Admiral was definitely every bit of 5 stars and served the best seared scallops I've ever had!
We had an early dinner reservation to avoid any potential meltdowns at the table. Caroline was absolutely perfect through dinner so we decided to push our luck and head back to the hotel for a complimentary birthday dessert at The Red Stag. We went with the "award winning" five layer red velvet cake!
With full, happy bellies we decided to get back to our room and put Caroline to bed. To my surprise we were greeted with complimentary champagne to continue my birthday celebrations! Um, did I mention how awesome the service at The Grand Bohemian is?!?
The next morning we awoke to the most amazing view...
...and a happy baby! 
For breakfast we dined at Corner Kitchen, another highly recommend place that did not disappoint! I'm still talking about the delicious cream cheese scrambled eggs with chives and fresh herbs...mmmm!
And of course, one of my favorite parts of the trip was driving the Blue Ridge Parkway to show Caroline the mountains for the first time. 
I never get sick of this view.
Our first vacation as just the 3 of us and it couldn't have been more perfect. This birthday goes down in the books as the best.
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Friday, September 26, 2014

Five on Friday!

Happy Friday! It is a very happy Friday indeed! Caroline is on the mend from a nasty, nasty diaper rash (severe enough to require a doctor's visit), I turned 28 (which is no surprise to anyone because I've been telling people all year that's my age by accident) and we are off to Asheville for a lovely weekend in the mountains! 

In other news, I have a special announcement! Summer break is over and our Five on Friday link-up is coming back better than ever starting next Friday! Get your posts ready, ladies! Darci, April, Natasha and I are so dang excited!!!!

- ONE - Skinny Girl Cucumber Vodka

I'm pretty sure I'm the only person on instagram who hasn't had a pumpkin spice latte yet. And although the temps were much cooler this week and it's officially fall I haven't quite transitioned to fall beverages. And when I do, I'm going straight for the most under appreciated warm Starbucks beverage - Caramel Apple Spice!

Anyway, I'm hooked on Skinny Girl cucumber vodka. I served it at our recent dinner party and have been stirring up a few on the weekends (and maybe 1-2 during the week too). Of course, all summer long my sister kept sending me pictures of delicious looking cucumber cocktails and I am just now arriving to the vodka party now that summer is officially over. Womp. Anyway, save this super simple recipe for next year - In a glass of ice pour a shot of cucumber vodka, mix in some soda water and top it off with some cucumber slices (or don't, your choice). And just like that you have a skinny, refreshing cocktail. I've also added a splash of diet cranberry juice too and that's also tasty!
- TWO - Without a doubt, the best fall candle scent at Bath & Body Works is Flannel!! Oh my gosh, I absolutely love this candle so much and stocked up during the latest 2 for $22 sale! Hurry up and go get one. Last year they ran out quickly!
- THREE - A few weekends ago we cashed in Matt's birthday present from July - tickets to the Jason Aldean concert featuring Florida Georgia Line. Before the show we met up with some friends and tailgated in the parking lot. It was such a fun night, the show was awesome and we had the best time.
- FOUR - I squeezed the very last few drops of my Philosophy face cleanser out last week and was feeling too cheap to buy a new bottle. So I perused the Target aisles and found a new face wash to try out - Burt's Bees Intense Hydration Cream Cleanser. I was pleasantly surprised by how creamy and moisturizing this cream is! Two thumbs up!
- FIVE -  A little blurry {but not complaining because I kind of like the way it hides my wrinkles}, but Matt snapped this picture of the mini and I on the way out the door yesterday. We pulled out the biggest bow we could find in honor of my birthday. 
Happy Weekend!!!
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Tuesday, September 23, 2014

First Day of Fall - Pumpkin Dip is Back!

Happy First Day of Fall!

To celebrate the first day of my favorite season each year, I always re-share one of my most popular fall recipes - Pumpkin Dip! And I know y'all love it too because this recipe/post is always one of my top 3 blog posts of all time! My mother-in-law shared this recipe with me long ago and we both pretty much keep a container of it in our fridge all season long. It's a quick snack to throw together, it keeps well and you can make it as healthy as you want. For girls nights I'll serve it with vanilla waffers and ginger snaps. And when I'm trying to behave I'll make it with low fat cool whip, sugar free pudding and eat it with apples!

 So here it is again!


{Ingredients}

Happy Fall Y'all!
 
Pumpkin Dip
 
Ingredients:
{1} 15 oz can of pumpkin
{1} 5 oz box of instant vanilla pudding {just the powder, don't make the pudding}
{1} 16 oz container of cool whip {low fat}
{1} small pumpkin
{1/2} tbl Pumpkin Pie Spice
{1/2} tbl Cinnamon
Directions:
1. Mix pumpkin, pudding mix, cool whip, and pumpkin pie spice together {by hand} in a very large bowl.
2. Chill for several hours before serving. Meanwhile, carve your pumpkin!
3. Sprinkle with cinnamon, and serve with fresh apples slices, vanilla wafers or ginger snaps.
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