Friday, May 30, 2014

Loudoun Love: Hillsborough Vineyards

Happy Friday, friends! Things got sticky there at the end, but we somehow made it here together. Today I am very excited to be linking up with Setarra for the Residential Tourist Linkup. I've been wanting to join for a while, but I always forget about it. No time like the present!

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As you know, a goal of mine is to visit all of the wineries in Loudoun County before I turn 30. There are currently somewhere around 40 vineyards (and counting), so I've got quite a task at hand. Last month, Matt helped me check another one off the list by taking me to Hillsborough Vineyards for my birthday scavenger hunt. I was impressed (by both the vineyard and Matt's birthday planning skills). The views were gorgeous, the wine was delicious, and they had these wonderful adirondack chairs around the property, perfect for sipping the wine and enjoying the mountains.

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My two favorites are the Bloodstone and the Chardonnay. The Chardonnay was so perfect and refreshing, and I got super excited after tasting the Bloodstone because I could actually taste the pepper. If you've ever been wine tasting, you know how it is--the employee rattles off all these rando ingredients that you can "taste" in the "notes" and whatnot, but half the time I just nod my head and keep swirling and sniffing, trying to act like I know what I'm doing. This time though, I tasted that pepper and I let everyone know it! (And by everyone, I mean Matt and the two employees working--they were not impressed.)

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If you happen to make it to Hillsborough, I recommend stopping for breakfast/lunch at Stoneybrook Farm Market. They sell lots of local and homemade products, and they have the most delicious egg sandwiches ever.

That's all for today friends! We've got big plans to do a whole lot of nothing this weekend--just the way I like it! If you don't have your own plans yet, take some time to be a tourist in your own town--it just might surprise you.

All Love,

Thursday, May 29, 2014

DIY Wedding Sign

Friends, Thursday is here! That means we've almost made it to Friday! My body is keeping up with the trend of being totally exhausted this week. It's not so bad between the hours of 10pm-7am, but it gets a little tricky around 3pm when I'm at work, and all I want to do is lay my head on my desk and pass out.

Anyway, I wanted to share with you all a DIY project I did for our wedding--can you believe we're coming up on 18 months of marriage?!? Because I certainly can't.

I actually shared this post a few months ago on my friend Emily's blog, Love, Pasta, and a Tool Belt. If you are looking for lots of great, affordable DIY and recipes, this is the blog for you. Every now and then I like to throw you all a recipe or project, but I definitely don't have the talent for it the way Emily does. While you're at it, you should also look at the recipe I shared on her blog earlier this week. It's the easiest thing in the world and I promise you will love me forever for it.

I suppose I should stop rambling and get on with it--I don't do DIY on here very often, so pay attention! I vaguely remember getting the idea from Pinterest when I saw something about spray painting over a mirror that has stickers on it. The pin itself ended up being one of those that lead nowhere, so I took the idea and made the rest up as I went along (welcome to my life).

First, assemble your materials! You will need:
  • Mirror
  • Spray Paint (don't forget to grab one bottle for the finish)
  • Painters Tape
  • Letter Stickers
  • Rub and Buff (optional)
  • Plastic or Newspaper
I used a mirror I already had, which was purchased for $10 at a flea market years ago. I recommend checking out Hobby Lobby for some great, affordable options. 

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I bought my other materials at Michael's. I went with a spray paint with a metallic finish, but you can go with whatever is your preference. The stickers are easy to find, they've got them just about anywhere scrapbooking supplies are sold, and the Rub 'n Buff is completely optional--I used it to spruce up the edges of of my mirror.

Now that you've got your supplies together, let's get started!

  1. Spread your work area with plastic or newspaper--you don't want to get spray paint everywhere!

  2. If necessary, take a clean, damp rag and give your mirror a wipe down. If you bought it brand new, this probably won't be needed. 

  3. OPTIONAL: Using a toothbrush or an old rag, take the Rub 'n Buff and rub around the frame of the mirror. This will add a bit of shimmer to the frame, especially if it's old or boring. 

  4. Once the Rub 'n Buff is dry, line the edges of the mirror with painters tape. This will help you prevent the spray paint going all over that pretty frame you just spruced up. 

  5. Take a minute to think about where you want to place the stickers. You can mark the area off with bits of paper (or, if possible, you can cut the stickers out before peeling them off, but some products aren't packaged that way). I like to just throw caution to the wind and line it up as I go. 

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  7. After you've placed your stickers on the mirror, get ready--it's time to spray paint! Give your spray paint bottle a good shake and get to it. I prefer to start at the top and make my way from top to bottom. Give it about fifteen minutes in between coats--how many coats you do is up to you. Once you've finished and the paint is dry, give it another coat or two with the gloss, to seal it in and protect the paint. 

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  9. Take a break! You earned it. Go have yourself a coke over ice and relax while watching an episode of Parks and Rec or Pretty Little Liars.

  10. Done? Okay, break is over. Get back to that mirror and carefully peel the letters off (I noticed that, on the edges of the letters, the paint kind of stuck to the stickers, so be careful you don't pull up too much of the paint). 

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  12. Voila! You've got a beautiful, DIY sign you can use for a wedding, baby shower, Galentine's Day party, or whatever else you desire.
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Thanks to SoHo Photography for our wedding photos!
This sign currently is on display in the family room of our house, and it always reminds us of that very special day when we said "I do."

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I hope this tutorial is helpful! Hopefully, as Matt and I start actually doing projects around the house, I will have more DIYness to share in the future. 

Treasure Tromp
All Love,

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Fashionably Late: Kate Spade Skirt Part Two

Hello, friends! Tuesday was as brutal as I expected it to be. I spent an hour waiting to get labwork done in the morning, only to discover that I was supposed to be fasting. Coolness.

I'm still not feeling 100%--mainly I just get tired really easily. So, a day in the office was quite taxing, after spending three days of doing nothing much but lying around the house.

Don't be fooled though, I'm not a total bum--on Sunday, Matt and I went to church and then brunch. I pulled this gorgeous Kate Spade skirt out of my closet.

Recognize it? It's the skirt from one of my very first Fashionably Late posts almost a year ago! Yes, I've worn it several times since then, I just so happened to finally take pictures this time.

I wore it with a lovely top from Tulle and some stud earrings. Simple, yet effective.

Here's to hoping we all survive this week.

My Carey Mulligan face says I'm not so sure I will survive
top // Tulle (similar); skirt // Kate Spade; sandals // Tory Burch; watch // Michael Kors; earrings // Lia Sophia; bracelet // Lia Sophia; ring // David Yurman; headband // J.Crew 

All Love,

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Lazy Three Day

Hello friends! I hope everyone had a magical three day weekend. We were essentially the LAZIEST this weekend and it was perfect. It was exactly what I needed--I was still trying to get my energy back so I didn't want to do too much. 

We kicked off the weekend with an Ingrid Michaelson concert in DC. She's basically my favorite ever. I've seen her four times, and it's always amazing. We weren't able to stay for the entire show (it was getting too late for me), but I did walk away with this awesome, autographed lyric poster:

The opening acts, Sugar and the Hi-Lows and Storyman, were really great as well, so I will be posting about them on the next Music Monday. 

We spent Saturday around the neighborhood--we watched the Real Madrid soccer game with our neighbors, then we played cornhole and ended the night with a cookout. Millie even got to join in on the festivities, but she was one exhausted puppy come Sunday morning! And bee tee dubs, Matt and I just so happen to be the undefeated cornhole champions. Don't ask me why, I guess Matt basically carried the team. 

Sunday was spent at church and trying out a new place for brunch, before heading home to relax and cook a delicious meal of honey glazed pork chops for dinner with the neighbors. Once again, Millie was exhausted from all the entertaining. 

Yesterday, we continued with the whole-lot-of-nothing trend by going to the pool for the afternoon. We also happened to discover that Verizon was offering us complimentary HBO THROUGH AUGUST! Naturally, we spent the evening on the couch, watching Game of Thrones and eating pizza. 

As you can see, we had the perfect weekend, and I am so grateful for all the men and women in this country who gave their all so I could spend the weekend any way I wanted. I don't always agree with war, but I can always support our troops. 

I hope everyone had their own perfect version of the Lazy Three Day--let's support each other as we make it back to the Real World today. 

All Love,

Friday, May 23, 2014

What Have We Learned? Crohn's Edition

I am so happy for the arrival of this three day weekend! I really need the rest and relaxation after a long week back at work. I'm hoping that I will have enough energy to make it through the concert tonight. What concert is that? Oh, no big deal, just going to see my bff Ingrid Michaelson for the 4th time.

If you haven't already downloaded her new album, Lights Out, then you better go do it now or I'm kicking you off this blog.

For today's post, I decided it was fitting to do a Crohn's Disease edition of "What Have We Learned?" If you're tired of hearing me talk about CD, then you should probably leave, because this is my life right now. It has been twelve years since I was first diagnosed, and I've learned quite a wealth of information in that time, which I will now share with you lovely people.

I have learned:
- Know your exit strategy
And by "exit strategy" I obviously mean "bathroom strategy." This is basically the cardinal rule of CD that you will learn first and foremost. I am quite familiar with the locations of every bathroom up and down the 81 corridor in Virginia, and which ones are the nicest facilities.

That would be a refuse well at a excavation site in Paris. I always know where to find my bathrooms!
- Always be ready with your good vein
This is especially important if you're like me and your veins can be finicky. Have ol' trustworthy ready to get when the lab technician arrives--it will save you a lot of needless pokes. Take control of your veins, people! (I searched high and low for a picture of a particularly nasty bruise I got one time when the technician went with the wrong vain--guess I wised up and didn't post that to Facebook.)

- Salads are not your friend
For someone with Crohn's, eating a salad might as well be a form of self-wounding. Your intestines are not going to be on board with digesting allll that, and they will make you pay.

- There is no miracle diet
As much as I appreciate earnest, well meaning advice from randoms (I don't), it really gets tiresome hearing that your neighbor's cousin's stepdaughter gave up red meat and carbs and it totally cured her. You're not my doctor and you're certainly not my body, so don't try to tell me what I can and cannot eat.

Ok, maybe I shouldn't eat so much fried food, but sometimes it's worth the pain.
- Intestines are more fun when they have a name
My intestines are quite vocal, and they always take every opportunity they can to embarrass me by grumbling loudly during the quietest moments around strangers and co-workers. So, I've learned it's best to give them a name (Fran), so it has more meaning when you scold them for their nonsense.

- Intestine are kind of overrated--you don't even need all of them!
Okay, so maybe it would be nice to be able to keep all of your intestines. Even though having surgery actually puts you at risk to have more surgeries with Crohn's, I don't regret my operation from seven years ago. Even with my recent flare up and hospitalization, my quality of life is one million times better now than it was before I had surgery.

- No excuses, play like a champion
At first, I would try to come up with the lamest excuses any time I had to go to the bathroom. Like, "oh, I drank a lot of water," or "ohhh there was a long line." Eventually, I realized that nobody cared and if they did, I would just shrug my shoulders merrily and say "Crohn's Disease!"

- Surround yourself with only the best
I had some friends during college that became visibly uncomfortable when I talked about my struggles with Crohn's. I don't know why it bothered them so much--maybe it made them reflect too much on their own health. Whatever the reason, they weren't really good friends to have. Sometimes you have to ask yourself "is this a good enough friend that will drive me to the ER while I puke green vomit into an old navy shopping bag?" If you can answer yes to that question, then you're solid!

Good friends also send fun balloons, always a plus!
- Enjoy the healthy moments
This is the most cliche, but the most true. Especially after I had surgery, I realized how much more I got out of life when I was healthy than when I was sick. I literally never know when I may have a flare up--so I try to make the most of my time when I'm healthy.

This was from a vacation my family took to Cape Cod shortly after my surgery--it was one of the best trips ever.
Well dear readers, I hope I've enlightened you somewhat on the highs and lows of Crohn's Disease! Does anyone else have a chronic disease that is THE WORST? If so, what are your coping strategies? I obviously try to make light of everything until the moment comes when I break down crying in the shower because I'm all roided up. But that's just me.

Have the happiest of three day weekends, friends! Follow me on Twitter and Insta if you want to hear about my weekend festivities!

All Love,

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Fashionably Late: Chambray and Shorts

Thursday! One day closer to the best 3 day weekend ever, because it marks the beginning of summer. I am so excited to get some much needed rest this weekend, and do absolutely nothing else.

After I got out of the hospital last week, I wasn't up to going out and about. However, we did go out to eat a few times, and we had to make several trips to the Target pharmacy. I pushed myself to go out of the house at least once a day, because it provided some relief and it was good for me to walk around.

Each time we went out, I made an effort to put an outfit together. I had just spent five days in a hospital, and I really did not feel pretty. I was pale, exhausted, and all gross and swollen from being pumped full of steroids and fluids. Getting dressed up and putting on a little bit of makeup made me feel better emotionally.

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About half of my closet probably comes from J. Crew Factory--I love all of their clothes and they have such great sales. I bought these shorts last summer and am so happy to break them out again. I love the bright, seafoam color, and it boosts my mood even though I'm not feeling well.

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We've established I have a problem with buying all the chambray shirts--I obviously could not resist buying this one with polka dots.

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Millie tried to make an appearance in every picture. She likes to be fashionable too--she is the prettiest dog in the neighborhood, after all.

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shirt // J. Crew Factory; shorts // J. Crew Factory; shoes // Sperry Top Sider; watch // Michael Kors; necklace // Lia Sophia; earrings // Lia Sophia; ring // Lia Sophia

Treasure Tromp

All Love,

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

The Best Laid Plans

Hello, my dear friends! I have to apologize big time for spacing out yet again. Last week, I put together a Music Monday post and told you all my big plans to get back into a consistent blogging schedule. I wrote the post on Sunday evening, and by 10pm Monday night, I was admitted to the hospital for a a partial obstruction in my small intestine.

This is all due to Crohn's Disease--thanks a lot, ya big jerk! We are still trying to determine the exact cause of the obstruction, so more tests are in my future. Right now, things are much better than they were last week. I'm slowly trying to get back on my feet, as I get exhausted easily and have very low energy.

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Obviously, I'm feeling a lot of emotions right now (what else is new?). I was pumped full of steroids and am still taking them now--combine that with PMS and it's not a pretty sight. Any time I have a flare up, I become angry and fearful. Angry, because I can't live my life like a normal person, and fearful of how bad my health may become. I feel very fortunate that I'm actually out of the hospital and functioning, and it's looking highly unlikely that I will have to schedule surgery anytime soon. Still, though, I can't help but be freaked out about what else this disease might throw my way in my lifetime.

Thank you to all who offered positive thoughts and prayers. Big thanks to Ashley, who was patient with me and rescheduled my sponsor month through a series of incoherent, painkiller-induced emails.

I also have to brag about the most handsome man ever--my husband. He dropped everything to make sure I was taken care of last week, and provided daily updates to my family. He's been incredibly patient through all of my roid rages, and has been the biggest, positive force that has helped me get through this setback.

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This doodle is pretty cool too:

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So, my hopes are to slowly get back to a normal blogging schedule, whatever that may be. Thank you all for being so patient with me and for sticking around!

All Love,

Monday, May 12, 2014

Just Another Music Monday, V.18

Hello friends! I hope everyone had a beautiful weekend, and all the mothers out there (puppy mothers included) had a wonderful Mother's Day.

I am slowly trying to make my way back into blogging. I think I have more or less recovered from my grad school rejection, and now I really want to get back into a routine of blogging. I don't think I can promise five days a week, but I'll do my best to try!

Here's a recap of the past few weeks:

  • Millie discovered a new favorite sport--soccer! I promise you, dear readers, we will get video of her the next time she plays. It is a SHOW.
  • I discovered I need to really stretch my arm muscles before playing cornhole. 
  • I got back into the routine of cooking dinner.  
  • I became a Lia Sophia advisor
  • Successfully created our first Mimosa bar (treat you self!)
  • Spent plenty of quality time with my two favorites:

In the midst of all of these highs and lows, I wanted to share with you all the playlist that has been accompanying my life. Thanks to my brother and the iTunes gift card he sent me for my birthday, I've downloaded a bunch of random songs that seem to always fit my moods these past few weeks. I've also been playing Ingrid Michaelson's new album, Lights Out, constantly--it is amazing and she is amazing and you should all download it RIGHT NOW.

Enjoy the playlist, readers, and thanks for sticking by me these past few weeks!

Spring 2014 by Kate T. on Grooveshark

All Love,

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Good, Not Good Enough

Hello, friends! Did you miss me? I'm sorry for taking a longer-than-expected break. I had intended to simply scale down and blog three days a week, but somehow that turned into me writing a post about scaling down, then not posting for over another week.

There were quite a few things going on that kept me from getting my fingers to the keyboard, and for the most part, that was a hectic work schedule last week and over the weekend. Other than that, I've just been hanging around, wallowing.

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You see, last week, I found out I was not accepted into the grad school program I so badly wanted. That was the sixth time I was rejected from grad school. I know that we all have to deal with failure, and learn to move on, and BLAH BLAH BLAH, but being rejected from any sort of academic related matter always cuts me to the core.

Academics were always a source of pride for me. I had zero athletic talent, my social skills were lacking, and, even though my mom and aunt seemed to think my renditions of Garth Brooks' songs were lovely, I didn't think the rest of the world was ready. I always felt mediocre at everything else I tried, but when it came to books and learning, I was at the top of my class. As you can tell, every grad school rejection has basically reduced my self worth to nothing.

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The admissions office was kind enough to tell me the reason, since I asked--it was my quantitative GRE score. I had a feeling that was the case, but it didn't stop my anger from flaring up again over standardized testing. Forget about my 3.9 GPA and the three years of undergraduate I spent in a research lab--a stupid score on a stupid test that has had NO RELEVANCY to anything I have done in the real world has sealed my fate.

And that, my friends, is what I've been up to lately. Feeling sorry for myself, eating my feelings, and randomly breaking down in tears when I think about how I always seem to disappoint myself.

Tomorrow, I plan to move on from this sad, little show and try to be positive. Tonight, however, I'm going to eat maybe an entire pepperoni pizza by myself and maybe watch Mean Girls. It's a Wednesday, we wear pink, and we celebrate ten years of quotes that will never get old.

I am on an all carb diet.
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All Love,

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