To all of my friends in the Richmond, Virginia area:
If you are ready to sink your teeth into the best cupcakes you've ever tasted,
then you must discover my cousin's new company,
The Ashland Cupcake Car.
I had the pleasure of tasting 3 different kinds of her cupcakes this weekend, and take my word for it~ they're all DELICIOUS. 
She has close to 20 different cupcake creations on the menu, each filled with luxurious surprises such as jam, buttercream frosting and peanut butter cups.

So contact Caitlin here for details and order information!
Your taste buds will thank you!


Weddings, NOLA and SNOW?!

So...It's snowing in Pennsylvania.
Yes, you read that correctly.
SNOWING. In Pennsylvania.
And Pennsylvania is one state away from Virginia, where I live.
What is going on?!
5 days ago I was romping around in jeans and a t-shirt!
Now it's 37 degrees and raining, and you'll be lucky to get me out of my pink, fluffy robe before noon.

October has been a full month.
And I haven't come to the drawing board in a few weeks. 
But I'm back~
with pictures and memories and adventures to share.

We rang in the month celebrating my mom's 62nd birthday. We had a 3-hour dinner at a fantastic restaurant, and laughed the night away, just like us.
I came away from the evening thinking one thing~
I love my family so much.
The following weekend we headed south to Ashland to watch my beautiful cousin, Tara, marry her love Andrew.
Tara planned out all of the little things~
The things that really make a wedding memorable.
She walked down the aisle to the theme song from Forest Gump, and from the moment we laid eyes on her until the DJ closed up shop, the evening was one, big, sentimental dance party.
It was perfect.

 Congratulations, T and Andrew~
I can already imagine all of the fun you two have together for years and years to come.

The day after we returned from the wedding was Columbus Day, which we had off, so I dragged took Chris hiking near Bull Run battlefield.
The hike was strenuous, but the view from the top was worth it. 
He may or may not agree :).
I felt like I was looking over all of beautiful Virginia.
Next up was our trip to the Big Easy!
We had originally been scheduled to go to New Orleans to celebrate Chris' 30th birthday over Labor Day weekend.
But Tropical Storm Lee had also decided to swing on by Louisiana, and his visit trumped ours.
So we had to cancel our trip and cross our fingers for good weather there another time.

Well, our wish came true, and the trip was well worth the wait.
New Orleans is an enchanting, vibrant city. 
It's the city of jazz, of Creole culture, of a relaxed way of life. 
It's the kind of place that just makes you want to lean back and let the surroundings filter through all of your senses. 
There's live jazz bands on street corners, Motown booming from the bars, and the smell of beneigts wafting through the air.
There are wedding guests marching through Jackson Square, swinging napkins in celebration of brides and grooms.
There are trolleys and Po Boys and cemeteries and swamps and energy.
October also brought with it my best friend's engagement(!!!!!), my annual pumpkin carving party, and up next, Halloween!
So I'll be back soon to fill you in on the rest of the October highlights.
For now I better get myself out of this robe, before the neighbors start talking.
Try and stay dry!


Macro Monday

A poisonous grasshopper we came across during a bush walk~
Pumba Game Reserve, South Africa


Here's to You...

problem solver

my mom.

happy birthday to the greatest person I know~
i love you so much.


Bah, Humbug

I don't know what all the fuss is over fall.
October greeted us with a 20 degree drop in temperature, and I don't know about you, but I find nothing romantic about walking the dog in a parka.
I literally looked like the bag lady walking around my neighborhood this morning.
I mean green sweatpants, fuzzy crocs and a hooded sweatshirt?
No. Thank you.
I'm just having so much trouble crossing over to the dark side.
I'm not interested in pumpkins, I don't want a spiced latte, and I certainly am nowhere near ready
for long pants and closed toed shoes.

The worst thing about fall is that it leads to winter.
And don't even get me started on winter.
I could love fall if it led to spring.
and I could definitely love fall if it led back to summer.
But winter?
You're the opening act for winter?
Then how can I trust you, knowing full well you'll turn on me?

I just want to know the exact date when I'll walk out the door to frigid temperatures.
I feel like every year it sneaks up on me, and I end up blaming fall for giving up on me so early.
If I could know, for instance, that this year's winter would last from say, December 23rd to January 2nd, then I could really embrace fall and enjoy the change of season.

But until meteorologists actually figure out how to predict the weather,
I'll hold on to my iced tall skinny hazelnut latte for as long as humanly possible.
And then I'll suck it up, throw on my Uggs and plan a warm, weekend getaway and get the heck out of here
get over it.



Don't tell him I told you, but Chris turned 30 recently. 
And in honor of the big occasion, I threw him a seriously fantastic surprise birthday party!
It was a down-home Southern affair, complete with everything from fried chicken to Mason jars, and it was a total blast.

Do you know Oprah's saying, "It takes a village"?
Well this party took a village of people to pull off.
More specifically, it took a village of my people.
My best friends and my family worked overtime to help make sure everything for the party was perfect.
And the thing that really gets me is that the party wasn't even for me~ it was for Chris. 
But when I care about something, they'll take it on as their own.
They are champions of Chris.
And that just feels so, so good.
So a big, huge, giant, grateful shout out to my parents, my brothers, Sabrina, Stephanie & Lisa for your tireless efforts. 
I think you're the greatest.

Now onto some pictures!

I used scalloped scissors and cut squares of scrapbook paper from Michaels for the fireplace display. The party guests each wrote Chris pieces of advice for his next 30 years. 
I used more scrapbook paper and a few letter stickers to create personalized drink displays...
My friend Courtney gave me the idea for the Dirty Thirty drink from a blog post she did on her blog, Charming Little Nest
Check out her blog and her other ideas~ her creativity will knock your socks off!
We bought burlap and gingham fabric from JoAnn Fabrics to cover the tables, and the beautiful wildflowers are from Costco!
Paper towels, jars of wetnaps, flowers, and salt & pepper shakers served as centerpieces.
I also showed off some awesomely embarrassing pictures of Chris as a child :).
I created this banner using (surprise!) scrapbook paper and doilies, and I glued each flag to a thin burlap string.
The spread my mom made was out-of-this-world. Everyone left incredibly full and happy!
I ordered one extra large cookie dough cupcake for Chris from Crumbs bakery, and my mom and brother also made chocolate chip cookie dough filled cupcakes from scratch!
I'm not sure how we pulled it off, but it sure was one heck of a good time. 
And to top it all off, Chris was actually, genuinely surprised!

 The DIY Show Off

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