Thursday, August 14, 2014

Colorado Adventures



    Last weekend DFH and I traveled west to Colorado for my cousin's wedding. As I mentioned before I have family on both my mom and dad's side of the family in Colorado so it was so great to visit with so many family members. 

On Thursday we arrived and DFH and I enjoyed lunch with my uncle and then spent the day exploring downtown Denver.  

DFH was so excited for the Denver craft beer scene so naturally we immediately hit up Great Divide, a Denver brewery. It certainly did not disappoint.  





I decided to get a beer flight with three beers that I had never tried before. 



   After we finished exploring downtown we headed to my aunt and uncle's house where we met up with my parents, sister, her boyfriend, and my cousins. My aunt and uncle had an amazing dinner spread and we had the best time catching up. 

    It is rare that our family is all together so Friday morning we took a few family photos before going to the infamous Red Rocks. 


If you have never been to Red Rocks add it to your bucket list it is one of the most gorgeous sites I've seen. The red rocks against the blue Colorado sky is breathtaking. 



Naturally I took 1000 pictures at Red Rocks. 

Sister JLP posing by the rocks. 

Mom loving on my cousin's son Brody. 


An encounter with some locals. 


On top of the world. 

JLP and I 




I would love to one day attend a concert here. 





All the local band poster of bands that have played here. 

After our visit we traveled to Golden, CO for the wedding. 


Golden is the cutest western town with an unbelievable mountain backdrop.  


We had a great time at the rehearsal dinner.  ( I didn't take any pictures).  On Saturday before the wedding we hit up the Coors Brewing Company for a tour. 


We enjoyed the freshest Coors Lite tapped right from the Rockies. 

Coors is my Dad's favorite beer so he was especially excited for the tour and tasting. 




Before the wedding we took a few more family photos. 






DFH and I 
 
 
My cousin preformed the wedding for his brother and did a fantastic job. The ceremony was beautiful. 


Girl cousins after the wedding (minus one)

All the Cousins (minus two) with the bride and groom 

We had such a great time celebrating Bethany and Scott. It was an awesome wedding. 



I have always wanted a pair of authentic cowboy boots and I finally picked up a pair at a local shop in Golden, CO.  I can't wait to wear these bad boys with skinnies and an oversized sweater come fall. 
















Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Nautical by Nature: Nautical Outfit of the Week

   

   We have made it to Wednesday and luckily for me it is my Friday.  Tomorrow I am headed to Colorado for a long weekend to see my cousin tie the knot.  We have family in Colorado on both my mom and dad's side of the family so it will be nice to catch up with most of our family who we don't get to see nearly enough. 


   Today I am honored to be featured on Kate's blog Nautical By Nature as her nautical outfit of the week.  Kate's blog always features the cutest nautical clothes, accessories, home goods, and party ideas and she has such a classic preppy style!  Please go and check out her blog!

  I will return on Monday with a recap from my Colorado weekend!

Happy early weekend!

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Pizza From Scratch

     I am completely pizza obsessed and to be honest a pizza snob. After growing up in NJ I have high expectations for a good crust and sauce.  Unfortunately Pittsburgh does not have the best pizza and many places make a Dominos or Pizza Hut type pizza which just isn't the same.  
 

    So since I can't access my NJ pizza, I often make my own.  Usually I use the Trader Joe's pizza dough as the crust, but then DFH and I decided we should try and make our own dough completely from scratch. 
 
We used this recipe from Simplyrecipes.com  (see recipe below) and it was an easier process then I thought and the pizza came out great. 

 
Pizza Dough: Makes enough dough for TWO 10-12 inch pizzas
  • 1 1/2 cups warm water (105°F-115°F)
  • 1 package (2 1/4 teaspoons) of active dry yeast
  • 3 1/2 cups bread flour ( we used all purpose flour and it worked fine)
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar

Instructions:

Making the Pizza Dough

1 Place the warm water in the large bowl of a heavy duty stand mixer. Sprinkle the yeast over the warm water and let it sit for 5 minutes until the yeast is dissolved. After 5 minutes stir if the yeast hasn't dissolved completely. The yeast should begin to foam, which indicates that it is still active and alive.

2 Using the mixing paddle attachment, mix in the flour, salt, sugar, and olive oil on low speed for a minute. Then replace the mixing paddle with the dough hook attachment. Knead the pizza dough on low to medium speed using the dough hook until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes.
If you don't have a mixer, you can mix the ingredients together and knead them by hand.
If the dough seems a little too wet, sprinkle it with a little more flour.

( We mixed/kneaded our dough by hand and again had great results, and it was a good arm workout)

3 Spread a thin layer of olive oil over the inside of a large bowl. Place the pizza dough in the bowl and turn it around so that it gets coated with the oil. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and let sit in a warm place (75-85°F) until it doubles in size, at least 1 to 1 1/2 hours. You can let it sit for several hours if you want. The longer rise will improve the flavor of the pizza crust. If you don't have a warm spot in the house you can heat the oven to 150 degrees, and then turn off the oven. Let the oven cool till it is just a little warm, then place the bowl of dough in this warmed oven to rise.
At this point, if you want to make ahead, you can freeze the dough in an airtight container for up to two weeks.

Preparing the Pizzas

1 Place a pizza stone on a rack in the lower third of your oven. Preheat the oven to 450°F for at least 30 minutes, preferably an hour.

2 Remove the plastic cover from the dough and punch the dough down so it deflates a bit. Divide the dough in half. Form two round balls of dough. Place each in its own bowl, cover with plastic and let sit for 10 minutes.

( At this point we put the 2nd ball of dough in the freezer to use the following week for dinner)

3 Prepare your desired toppings. Note that you are not going to want to load up each pizza with a lot of toppings as the crust will end up not crisp that way. About a third a cup each of tomato sauce and cheese would be sufficient for one pizza. One to two mushrooms thinly sliced will cover a pizza.

4 Working one ball of dough at a time, take one ball of dough and flatten it with your hands on a slightly floured work surface. Starting at the center and working outwards, use your fingertips to press the dough to 1/2-inch thick. Turn and stretch the dough until it will not stretch further. Let the dough relax 5 minutes and then continue to stretch it until it reaches the desired diameter - 10 to 12 inches. Use your palm to flatten the edge of the dough where it is thicker. You can pinch the very edges if you want to form a lip.

5 Brush the top of the dough with olive oil (to prevent it from getting soggy from the toppings). Use your finger tips to press down and make dents along the surface of the dough to prevent bubbling. Let rest another 5 minutes.
Repeat with the second ball of dough.

6 Lightly sprinkle your pizza peel (or flat baking sheet) with corn meal. Transfer one prepared flattened dough to the pizza peel. If the dough has lost its shape in the transfer, lightly shape it to the desired dimensions.

( We skipped the cornmeal step above and added olive oil to the pizza pan to prevent the dough from sticking)

7 Spoon on the tomato sauce, sprinkle with cheese, and place your desired toppings on the pizza.

8 Sprinkle some cornmeal on the baking stone in the oven (watch your hands, the oven is hot!). Gently shake the peel to see if the dough will easily slide, if not, gently lift up the edges of the pizza and add a bit more cornmeal. Slide the pizza off of the peel and on to the baking stone in the oven. Bake pizza one at a time until the crust is browned and the cheese is golden, about 10-15 minutes. If you want, toward the end of the cooking time you can sprinkle on a little more cheese.

( Again, we skipped this step and placed the pizza on the pizza pan right into the oven)



ENJOY!


 

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Wedding Wednesday: Bachelor Gift Idea

     DFH and I had planned for our bachelor and bachelorette parties to be the same weekend.  Mine was in Atlantic City and Long Beach Island and DFH was having all of his friends come to him for a weekend in Pittsburgh.


   I knew I wanted to get DFH a little something for his bachelor weekend so I decided to put together a box of goodies for DFH and his friends for the big night out and morning after.  Knowing boys, I knew they would probably forget to bring snacks and Gatorades, etc. to the hotel.  I took a crate and split it into two sides with cardboard. One side read "For Your Big Night Out". The other side read, "For Your Hangover."  


On the "Night Out: side of the crate I included:
1.Airplane bottles of alcohol
2.Playing cards
3.Energy drinks
4.Chips and candy
5.Gum
6.Shot glasses 
7.And lastly I included $3 in an envelope and labeled it "Stripper Money" as a joke 
 

On the "For Your Hangover" side of the crate I included: 
1. Ingredients for Bloody Marys
a.Vodka
                    b.Bloody Mary mix 
2. Arizona Green Tea
3.A bottle of Aleve
4.Emergen-C 
5.And a bottle of Pepto



    Before I left for my bachelorette party I dropped the crate off at the hotel the boys were staying at and the hotel was nice enough to offer to bring the box to the room when the guys arrived the next day.  The crate was a huge hit!
 




Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Charlotte






            Back in June I flew to Charlotte to celebrate one of my college bffs 30th birthday.  


        I was nervous I wouldn't make it onto my flight to Charlotte because I had booked my flight in my married last name thinking I would have my license changed by the date of my flight, however on the day of my flight I still hadn't received my social security card so I couldn't change anything.  I had called the airline and explained the situation, but they refused to change my name on the ticket and just told me to bring my marriage license. 

   After showing TSA my marriage license and several proofs of identification I had to undergo a bag and full body search and then FINALLY they let me on the plane. Phew! 

     I couldn't wait to get to Charlotte, it is one of my favorite cities mostly because so many of my close college friends live there.  The same weekend My friend Jenna was flying in from Chicago and my friend Keegan was flying in from Los Angeles to celebrate the birthday girl. 

     On Friday night my flight was delayed so once I landed in Charlotte I headed directly to dinner to meet the girls for a Mexican feast at La Paz. I couldn't wait to devour some white queso dip. I still cannot understand why white queso dip is only sold in southern Mexican restaurants. Does anyone know the answer? 

     The rest of the night was low key and spent catching up over a few bottles of wine back at Falon's apartment. 

    Saturday was Falon's big 30th birthday celebration at VBGB a local beer garden. The place was so neat with a great outdoor area and of course great beer selection 
 

Jenna, Falon, me and Keegan before the party. 



I love that Charlotte is full of Elon alumni so it was so wonderful to catch up with so many friends from college. 

Elon girls. 


With the birthday girl. 

After leaving VBGB the birthday girl wanted to dance and that is just what we did. We headed to a local bar/club and danced the night away before calling it a night.



Sunday we recovered and  enjoyed a long delicious BBQ brunch at Midwood Smokehouse, before I knew it, it was already time to go to the airport.


And of course I couldn't leave NC without some Bojangles. 






Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Some Bubbly, Some Wallpaper, and New Couches

  I haven't talked much about our new home on the blog, I promise there will be lots of posts about all of our renovations.  We love the new house, but to be honest the process has been a lot slower then I thought.  As always things take longer then you think.  DFH and I always say we are going to come home and work on the house every night after work, yet many nights we get lazy and by the time we get home and workout and eat or run errands it is already after 9:00pm and nothing gets done.  So as soon as I have completed work to show you I will, I just don't think you want posts on all of our half completed work. 

   This past weekend however was one of the first weekends we were both in town since we moved so it was nice to have a full weekend to work on the house. 

 Our friend LES was so kind to come over and help us rip down wallpaper.  All day Saturday was spent tearing down this very 90's floral print in one of the bedrooms.



 While LES and I tackled the bedroom DFH was hard at work on the landscaping.  I don't have a before picture, but I will say that I am sure our house was the embarrassment of the neighborhood before DFH cleaned up the yard and added fresh mulch and planted flowers.  The front yard was completely overgrown with tall grass and leaves and three foot weeds, it needed a major makeover.  We finally purchased a lawnmower this weekend and I am sure our neighbors are grateful.  Luckily our next door neighbor had been kind enough to mow our lawn while we got situated in the house, I am sure he didn't enjoy looking at weeds and overgrown grass either. 




   Please ignore the porch and the stairs that is a whole other project. 



LES was so sweet and brought us some craft beer and champagne as a house warming gift.  Saturday also happened to be our nine month wedding anniversary so Saturday night we popped the bubbly and sat on our back deck enjoying each other's company and our new home. 


     On Sunday we ran errands to get some things for the house.  We also found some new couches which I am super psyched about.

  I have had plaid hand me down couches from my parents since law school, and have never wanted to invest in new ones until we had a house and knew what type of space we would have for furniture so we could buy a complete set.    If you have been following the blog for awhile or follow me on Instagram I am sure you have seen them, you can't miss the outdated green and maroon plaid. 

    Although I have been ready for new couches for years, I am going to miss these just a bit.  I have so many memories on these couches studying for law school, late night convos drinking wine with friends, friends from out of town sleeping over and lazy weekends watching movies and eating in front of the TV.  The stains of highlighter, pen, wine, and body indents show that they were well loved and used. 

  


RIP Plaid couches.   
 
 
We are home again this weekend so as long as we are productive I am hopeful I will have some home updates for you soon. 

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Delfest

One of my favorite summer activities in the summer is listening to live music, even better is a whole weekend of live music.   Over Memorial Day weekend we attended Delfest our favorite annual blue grass musical festival in Maryland.  DFH, LES and I hopped in our car on Friday after work and headed down to Maryland.  

We got in later then planned and set up our campsite for the weekend and then caught some live music at one of the stages. 

 


LES and I jamming out. 
( Sorry for the blur)



Our camp for the weekend 


On Saturday we woke up and took some Selfies while DFH cooked us breakfast. 
 
Our personal chef. 

Saturday was gorgeous and was hot enough to finally start wearing our summer dresses.  


DFH and I 

Delfest featured three stages with live music and vendors.  We spent both Saturday and Sunday at the main stage listing to some great music 



And catching some rays. 








Can't wait for next year.