Family fun day at Highland Orchards

Do you ever dream/fantasize about certain life situations? For instance, I always had this future vision of myself renting out a big beach house with a group of friends and partying all week in the sun and surf. Well, I sort of got to live out that dream this summer when we headed to Ocean City for the Fourth of July weekend. Unfortunately, I didn't get to do much partying seeing as though I was 10 weeks pregnant... but whatevs, not all fantasies can be played out perfectly. 

I've also always had this dream idea of heading to an apple orchard with a group of friends and their kids on a crisp fall day and picking apples, climbing trees, eating cider donuts and selecting the best pumpkin from the pumpkin patch for carving. Ding, ding, ding! Daydreams are coming alive here people! Last weekend, we drove out to Highland Orchards in West Chester with a big group of friends and kiddos and had a great time! Check out photos from the day below. 


Apples & Salted Caramel Bridal Shower Favors

One of my co-workers is getting married this weekend so we wanted to put together a little bridal shower before her big day. We gathered for a nice luncheon and I was in charge of putting together favors for the occasion. I immediately turned to the interwebs for some inspiration. Since it's fall and all I thought an autumn-themed gift would be appropriate and I personally like favors that are edible. That landed me on this cute idea, and apple with a little jar of homemade caramel. You would think that caramel would be too tricky to make at home, but believe me, it's really easy (no candy thermometer needed) and probably tastes better than anything you can buy in a store! Get the full recipe for the homemade salted caramel plus links to make the favors below. 


Ten happy moments of the last two weeks

Image credit: Found on Pinterest, original source unknown. If you know the original source of this image or own rights to it, please let me know and I’ll credit/remove as appropriate.

Two posts in one day? What is the world coming to? It's called playing catch-up my friends... so here my ten happy moments from the last two weeks. 

1. Feeling Bugsy (that's the baby's name in utero) kick and move around like crazy this week. He/she is a dancin' machine just like his/her papa. 

2. A super fun birthday celebration with friends and my love. 

3. Feeling better after a week or so of feeling sick with a respiratory infection. That was no fun, but I'm finally able to sleep without hacking up a lung, so yay! 

4. An impromptu Sunday Funday two weekends back which meant delicious bbq and a house full of friends and kids, and I loved every minute of it!

5. The smell of fallen leaves. You wouldn't think it'd be a great smell, but it's one of the best smells!

6. Free coffee from DD after an Eagles' victory. I'm not an Eagles fan, but I sure as hell appreciate the free cup of coffee. 

7. The lobster roll from Oyster House. I mean this thing is just lobster roll perfection and totally worth every penny (although work paid for this one.) 

8. Seeing the movie Chef finally. This movie has been on my list, and honestly it was one of the best movies I have seen in a long time. Plus, it made me really, really want a Cuban sandwich. 

9. I'm so happy with how the favors I made for a co-workers bridal shower luncheon turned out. I'll be sharing them with you on the blog next week so I won't spoil the surprise today. 

10. Getting to spend quality time with friends and family last weekend for a camping trip and Oktoberfest party

Camping and Oktoberfest 2015

This post is coming a little late, but I thought I'd share some photos of our fun camping trip and Oktoberfest party from last weekend. We headed up to New York for the Columbus Day Weekend and spent one night in the Adirondacks freezing our butts off and the second night we spent at my parent's annual Oktoberfest party. 

Camping was gorgeous despite the chilly weather, but we knew what to expect so we packed our winter clothes accordingly. We sat around the fire for the day and shared a lot of laughs and a few sing-a-longs as well. As the sun dipped down we warmed our bellies with s'mores (or adult beverages for some) and looked into the clear sky for a spectacular view of the stars. 

The following day was spent eating German fare, playing hammerschlagen and then watching the Giant's play a pitiful game of football.


German Potato Salad

My parents hosted their annual Oktoberfest party last weekend (more photos coming soon) and it seemed fitting to make a giant vat of potato salad to go with the brats and sauerkraut. Check out the recipe below, it's best when served at room temperature. 

German Potato Salad
(serves 10-14)
Recipe adapted from Five Heart Home

5 lbs red potatoes, cleaned and cut into 2 inch cubes (approximately)
1 tablespoon kosher salt (for boiling potatoes)
1 package bacon, diced
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
3 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons dijon mustard
1/4 cup, finely sliced red onion
1 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper
6 cloves garlic, minced 

1 cup fresh parsley, chopped

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add 1 tablespoon of kosher salt. Gently add potato chunks to the boiling water and reduce heat and simmer potatoes for 10 minutes or until they are tender when stabbed with a fork. Drain water and run potatoes under cold water to cool slightly. 

Set a large saute pan over medium heat and add bacon. Cook bacon, stirring occasionally, until crispy. Reduce heat to medium and use a slotted spoon to remove bacon to a paper towel while leaving bacon grease in the pan.

Add vinegar, sugar, dijon mustard, salt, and pepper to the bacon grease in the pan. Bring the mixture to a simmer, and stir for a couple of minutes. Add the minced garlic and cook for an additional minute until the garlic is fragrant. Remove the pan from heat and gently toss the potatoes and dressing together in a large mixing bowl. Carefully fold in the cooked bacon pieces and chopped parsley. Serve at room temperature and refrigerate any leftovers. 


A Birthday World Tour

It was a birthday to be remembered, it started in France, made a quick stop in Italy, spent the afternoon in England, and headed to Morocco for dinner. Okay, okay, so all of those "visits" occurred within the confines of the City of Philadelphia, but it was wonderful nonetheless! I'm not big on birthdays, I always feel a little embarrassed when there's a fuss made about me on that day. Typically, birthdays just involved a quiet dinner with Bry and some drinks or a rented movie after. 

Well since 28 was a hell of a year, and 29 is going to be life changing, I figured that I would take one day to do some things that have been sitting on my bucket list waiting to be checked off. We started off with a visit to the Rodin Museum (which we have been meaning to visit forever) then as our bellies started to grumble, we headed to Pizzeria Vetri for a little snack. After that, we took advantage of the gorgeous fall weather and strolled along the Ben Franklin Parkway until we landed at The Four Seasons where we were scheduled for afternoon tea. After our bellies were full of sugary treats we went home and relaxed a bit and then got ready for an evening with friends at our favorite Moroccan restaurant. Check out lots of photos from our fun day.  


The Best Way to Preserve Your Wedding Gown

UPDATE: Blushing Bride is offering a $10 discount for all Marissa says... readers that place an order in October! Be sure to mention this blog when you place your order! 

Have you ever wondered what people do with their wedding dresses after the wedding day? Let me tell you. They pay an insane amount of money for it to be cleaned, like hundreds of dollars... and then it gets bagged up and hung in a closet somewhere only to be pulled out someday when their daughter asks about it. Where's mine, you ask? Sitting in said closet, in said bag.

I know, I know some ladies pay an arm and a leg to have their dresses preserved, and where do those sit? In a closet or attic in their preservation boxes. If you're really crazy, you might do something like this. But honestly, that's a bit much. 

Well, I have a treat for you. Whether you're a bride who wants to remember her beautiful wedding day, or a special friend of a bride-to-be looking for a unique gift, these beautiful artistic creations from Brushing Bride are the perfect solution to capture your wedding dress in a timeless (and space-saving) way. I had the opportunity to talk to Krystina, owner and artist behind Brushing Bride and learn about how she started her business and what she loves most about creating these beautiful works of art. 


New York state of mind

What do you do when the temperatures start to drop? Unpack your flannel shirts and sweaters, take a drive up to New York and binge on apples, pies, and cider donuts. Well... at least that's what I do. There's no autumn quite like an upstate New York autumn. The air smells of earthy leaves, the colors take your breath away, the crisp air makes you want to lace up your riding boots and drape a super soft scarf around your neck. Check out photos from last weekend.

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